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Author of "The Real Diary of a Real Boy," 
"Farming ft," etc., etc. 






Copyright 1910 by Richard O Badge* 
All Rights Reserved 



"Life is one darn thing after another" 13 


"And I ll tell in simple language what I know 

about the row 
That broke up our Society upon the Stanislow" . . 28 

"There was an old woman 
Who lived in a shoe, 
She had so many children 

She didn t know what to do" 49 

"The amount of devilment those three boys can 

crowd into a half holiday beats all" 64 

Mike introduces a novel but effective method of 

discipline 80 


Plupy tries to blend a dog fight and a very ex 
clusive function into one harmonious wholt . IOI 



Plupy enters politics with the praiseworthy inten 
tion of aiding his father to obtain a raise in 
salary no 


How Plupy, Beany, Pewt, Fatty, Tomtit, Whack, 
Bug, Puzzy, Skinny, Billy, Parsons, Scotty 
and others became nigger minstrels 136 


The Fall of Babylon due to Fatty s performance 

and the presence of uninvited guests 155 


The strong arm of the law reaches for Plupy s 

collar and gets a strangle hold 173 


The Squire points a moral 193 


Plupy enters upon a short but meteoric mercan 
tile career and with the aid of his friends in 
troduces pleasing variety into the manage 
ment of a country store 217 


The elder Shute rescues a chicken and rebuilds a 

barn 241 



With the humane intention of promoting the com 
mon welfare and smoothing the asperities of 
war the boys get up a "Debatin Club" 253 


A regular Donnybrook fair of a debate 271 

"Please, ma am, kin I have suthin for Thanks- 

givin r 294 

With the view of possible Christmas contingen 
cies the boys become deeply and widely re 
ligious 3 J 8 

({ Fire! Fire! a house is on fire, 
See the Firemen run. 
It is a crime to set a 
House on Fire." 33$ 



Deep in Plupy s heart dwelt a mighty indigna 
tion Frontis 

Cornelia tossed the knife to her grinning brother. . 19 

At last Plupy began to get the range 25 

They stopped not to argue the matter or inquire 

his intentions 29 

"Naou f whaddier think ont" 33 

The crowd woke up at these warlike demonstra 
tions 39 

Plupy s mother took forcible possession 43 

He had tied the wrong rope 47 

When the elder Shute and the reluctant Plupy 

retired to the woodshed 53 

Scarcely a day passed but what a temporary hos 
pital was set up 61 

Jim would go over backwards 69 

Beany took with htm tin pans, pails, mops and 

dustpans 73 

Half a bushel of sausages , 77 



Beany turned the hose on Plupy 83 

The boys fed the Gate mare 91 

In they went, all over 99 

Keene and Cele rushed to repel boarders 107 

Beany had been kicked by a stable horse 113 

Nellie went out of the shafts like a shot 1 19 

Plupy read Midshipman Easy 123 

The politician fumed and said impolite things. . . . 129 
"For two cents" roared the elder Shute, "I would 

smash that old plug of yours" 133 

Plupy bending under the weight of a pail of water 137 

"I m the feller to fight Bug" said Fuzzy 143 

Fatty leads off, after him comes the band, Plupy, 

Parson, Bug and Pewt, Scotty Brigham. ... 152 

Billy Swett, Tomtit, Tady Fenton and Jim Early 153 

Fatty disappeared to his armpits 159 

Skinny Bruce springs for the trapeze, and misses it 163 

Even Speckle Face pauses in doubt 171 

Hannah thrashed them soundly 181 

Plupy headed them off with his fish pole 187 

That terrifying presence enthroned behind the desk 191 
Josh had been brought here by a fine looking gen 
tleman 197 

// took three policemen to handcuff the schooner s 

cook 205 

Plupy was borne quickly to earth 22 if 

Plupy and the head clerk 227 

To their great delight they found several very 

curious pop guns 233 


Mr. Connor entered the store with the spring of a 

panther 237 

Beany had substituted a glass of strong vinegar for 

the sweetened water 259 

"Old Francis licked time out of me" 267 

Fatty roared at Whack, purple with indignation. . 281 

"Help yourself, fellers" said Plupy 291 

"Fatty Melcher and Pewt et it all" 301 

"Sakes alive, Harry Shute, if it aint you" said old 

Mother Moulton 307 

Great was the annoyance of the pastor of the 

second church 315 

"Hullo, Brad, Hullo Wat" said Plupys father. . 321 

The same boys, tuning their lusty pipes 329 

Plupy tore into his clothes 341 

Round the corner came a long line of men 347 

Bucket lines had been formed 351 

Plupy s father was conferring with the insurance 

men 357 

Tail piece 362 



"Life is one darn thing after another." 

PLUPY was grumpy. There was no 
doubt of it. Anyone who saw him as 
he sat on the fence in front of his 
house, dangling his long legs in the 
air, or idly drumming his heels on 
the boards, scowling fiercely at the world, would 
have known that deep in his heart dwelt a 
mighty indignation. 

The day had begun inauspiciously for him. 
He had forgotten to split his kindlings the night 
before and had incurred condign punishment 
that seemed to him unjust and wholly out of 
proportion to the offence. 

If his father had whipped him he would have 
gotten over it long before this. But he had 
ordered him to stay in the yard all day. And 
he had promised to go fishing with Pewt and 



Potter, and Pewt knew where there were some 
bully perch, old lunkers. He almost wished his 
father was dead. Anyway his father would be 
sorry when he was dead. That was just the 
way, nothing ever went right. What did he 
have to split up kindlings for anyway? Why 
didn t they come all split. 

If people only knew enough to cut down little 
trees instead of big ones, they would be little 
enough for kindlings anyway, and it was easier 
to cut up little ones than big ones. When he 
was a man he would never make his boy split 
kindlings, but would buy them all split. 

He bet his father would feel bad if he 
drowned himself. He guessed he would miss 
him when he was gone. And his mother too, 
she might have said something when his father 
told him to stay in. 

He pictured himself lying dead in the river 
with the boats full of people with boat-hooks 
and eel spears, and the banks lined with other 
pale-faced scared people, and he pictured him 
self brought home limp and dripping, and 



brought into the house amid the cries and 
groans of his family and the loud self-re 
proaches of his father, the father that had 
driven him to this dreadful death. 

And he drew so affecting a picture of their 
unavailing grief that the tears filled his eyes and 
a lump arose in his throat as big as the yarn- 
covered, rubber-cored ball in his pocket. 

As his swimming eyes roamed wistfully 
around in search of something to lighten the 
dreary monotony of staying in the yard all day, 
they fell on the huge old apple tree whose deep- 
green leaves stirred slightly in the light breeze, 
and were dappled all over by flecks of golden 

Suddenly a thought struck him, the green ap 
ples were just large enough to throw with an 
elastic switch. "Bully," he would be the first 
to do it this season. He sprang from the fence 
and started for the tree. Then a most unusual 
spasm of obedience struck him. "Mother," he 
called, "Mother-er-er," he shrieked, as she did 
not immediately answer. 



"What is it?" a voice replied from the house. 

"Kin I plug some green apples with a stick?" 

"Why, y-e-e-s, I think so," his mother replied, 
somewhat doubtfully, "only," she continued, 
"don t throw them at people and don t break 
any windows." 

"All right, mother," he replied, swarming up 
the tree for a limber switch. The tree, a high 
old Baldwin, was too large for his arms and 
legs to go around, although they were of abnor 
mal length and thinness for a boy of his age, but 
as it bent slightly to the east and as there was a 
cavity about eight feet from the ground, it was 
climbed in this ingenious manner. 

Plupy stepped upon the wooden railing 
around the current bushes which was nailed to 
the tree, from there sprang straddlewise up the 
trunk until his fingers reached the cavity, where 
he squirmed and inched and twisted himself 
along until he reached the bend in the tree 
whence he could pull himself up by the branches. 

When he had selected a suitable withe he 
found he had left his knife in the house, where- 



upon he began to yell for someone to bring it 
out. "Keene, Cele, Georgie," he shouted, until 
one of the young ladies mentioned, a black- 
eyed, saucy-looking, round-faced girl, appeared 
in a blue checked apron with a dish-cloth and a 
plate in her hands. 

"Whatcher howlin like that for, Harry?" 
she asked in a tone of indignant remonstrance, 
" Whatcher want ?" 

Wantcher to gwup in my room n git my 
jack knife. S in my linen britches." 

"Guess if you want it, you can go n get it 
yerself. I m washin dishes." 

"Oh, gollong n git it, wontcher? don t be so 
mean," urged Plupy. 

"Go yerself, I won t" said Keene decidedly, 
turning her back on the suppliant, "I won t." 

"Mother-er!" shouted Plupy, "can t Keene 
just gwup and get my knife for me ?" 

"Why," said the much-wanted woman, "I 
should think she might" 

"Ma, he can go jesswell as I, he hasn t any 
thing to do and I m jest as busy as I can be," 



said Keene, attacking a platter with a great 
splash of water. 

"Make her, mother, she jest does it to be 
mean. I don t believe I can get up here again in 
a week," said Plupy. 

"Come, Keene," said her mother good na- 
turedly, "run up and get his knife." Where 
upon that young lady with a frown and a defiant 
swing of her square shoulders, walked upstairs 
with some rather unnecessary noise, but soon 
returned saying she couldn t find his old knife. 

"T was right in the pocket of my linen 
britches," said Plupy, "betcher didn t look." 

"Did too," asserted the young lady. 

"Cornelia," said her mother with a warning 
light in her eyes, "go straight upstairs and bring 
down Harry s knife." 

There was but one reply to this argument, 
and in a trice "Cornelia" mounted the stairs and 
returned with the knife, which she tossed indig 
nantly to her grinning brother, who caught it 
deftly, and jeeringly said, "Ya-ah-ya-ah, had to, 
didn t yer?" 


Cornelia tossed the knife to 
her grinning brother 


"Smarty, you wait and see," replied black- 
eyes, tossing her head and returning to her 

Left alone, Plupy cut a stout but limber 
switch and carefully trimmed off the twigs and 
leaves, whistling shrilly a popular band tune. 
Then he whittled the end to a sharp point on 
which to impale his projectiles. If he could only 
harden the end in fire it wouldn t split and 
would last longer. 

There was Sam Dyer s blacksmith shop just 
across the garden, but then he couldn t go out of 
the yard. Perhaps, however, Sam would hard 
en it for him. So he dropped his switch to the 
ground where he speedily followed it, letting 
himself down from a bending branch. 

Arrived at the boundary fence he climbed to 
the top rail and accosted the blacksmith who 
was sousing a hot iron in the water trough. 

u Mr. Dyer," he said with more deference 
than he generally used in accosting that gentle 
man, "wilyer please hold the end of this stick 
in your fire a minute, jest to harden it." 



Mr. Dyer looked up with a momentary 
frown. His experience with Plupy had been 
somewhat extensive and of such a nature as to 
put him in a condition of being constantly on 
guard. But he was an extremely good natured 
and simple hearted man and his frown was 
speedily chased away by a cheerful grin. 

"Why, in course, in course, sonny, come right 
over," he said hospitably. 

"No, you do it, I can t come over, gotter stay 
in the yard all day," said Plupy, shame-facedly. 

"Watcher bin doin naou?" queried Sam. 

"Didn t split no kindlins las night." 

"H m, that all?" said the blacksmith leaning 
on his smutty arms on the fence, "didn t know 
but yer d bin breakin winders or ringin door 
bells er suthin like that." 

"No, honest now, twant nothin but jest 
that," affirmed Plupy, "hope to die and cross 
my throat," he added, drawing his fingers cross 
wise over his skinny neck, which with the boys 
was then and may possibly be now the most sol 
emn oath possible. 



"Well," said Sam, "gimme yer stick an I ll 
singe it for ye," and he obligingly did so, return 
ing it with the point in quite a delightfully ada 
mantine condition. 

Plupy, in great elation, thanked him and ran 
back to the apple tree where he filled his pockets 
with hard green apples of about the size of 
bantam s eggs. Then choosing one he tentative 
ly bit it, made a wry face and spat. It was sour 
and bitter. Then, impaling it on the point of 
his withe, he lightly swung the switch into the 
air to try its temper, then gave it a throwing 
motion with all the strength of his arm. 

"Whoof," sang the withe as it cut through 
the air. Away went the apple with an audible 
hum, leaving the point at just the right moment. 
Away, away it soared, ascending for an incredi 
ble distance, where it passed out of sight among 
the trees. 

Another was tried with equal success. The 
third left the point too soon and ascended per 
pendicularly until it was lost to sight, then fell 
in the next yard. Plupy forgot all his troubles, 



he was happy. But whenever a boy has any 
thing to throw projectiles with, be it a bean 
blower, pop-gun, bow n arrer, arrow-rifle or 
slingshot, some sort of a target is necessary for 
perfect enjoyment. 

And so after trying long distance shots for a 
while, Plupy began to look about for something 
to hit. He soon found it. Across two gardens, 
nearly one hundred yards away, sat two men on 
a fence. They had been hired to work in a 
neighbor s garden, and in the absence of that 
neighbor, were improving their time by politi 
cal discussion. The fact that they were doing 
wrong in neglecting their employer s work was 
no reason why Plupy should seek to even up 
matters by using them as a target. 

But so he did, and with poor success for a 
while. The shots went like lightning, but wide 
of the mark. At last Plupy began to get the 
range and finally, to his intense delight, a hard 
round apple took one of the disputants a pro 
digious thump on the back of his head. 

In an instant he sprang from the fence with 


At last Plupy began 
to get the range 


a whoop, and came charging toward the place 
from which the missile had come, pouring out 
blasphemies and threats. Plupy dodged behind 
the fence and dived into the barn to a hiding 
place near a small window, through which he 
could see old Seth Tanner s performance, which 
was that frantic gentleman s name. Across the 
street came Skinny Bruce and Tady Finton, 
whistling and wholly unconscious of approach 
ing doom. 



"And I ll tell in simple language what I know about the 

That broke up our society upon the Stanislow." 


SEEING the enraged Tanner charging 
them with horrid curses, they stopped, 
not to argue the matter or to inquire 
his intentions. His warlike demon 
strations were enough. They fled, he 
followed. They crawled under the fence, he 
jumped over. They dived under a big beach 
wagon standing in front of the blacksmith s 
shop, he was compelled to go around, and fell 
over the pole, which, while it added fresh fuel 
to his wrath and great fluency to his vocal at 
tainments, gave them a few rods start, and 
though he rose and followed cursing, he never 
had a ghost of a show of overtaking them. 

As he passed from sight and his frantic invec 
tives died away in the distance, Plupy came 




forth from his hiding place, where he had been 
rolling in convulsions of sinful mirth, hunted 
up his withe, got a fresh supply of green apples 
and watched for new game. 

An occasional shot at a dog or cat kept time 
from dragging too heavily, but were barren of 
result. At last, however, a glorious opportunity 
came. Old Si Smith s big white dog came trot 
ting along the road. Now old Shep was a rath 
er savage old brute and the boys gave him a 
wide berth. But this opportunity was too good 
to be lost, and Plupy, hastily impaling the hard 
est and best apple he had, took aim and let drive 
with all his strength, intending to give the un 
conscious animal a most tremendous thump. 

Alas, the furious energy of the stroke dis 
lodged the apple a thought too soon, and in 
stead of striking the dog, it flew a bit high and 
went through the window of the blacksmith 
shop like a bullet from a gun, causing in the 
breast of the honest and well-meaning black 
smith sentiments of keen astonishment, pro 
found sorrow and righteous indignation, 



In a trice he had doffed his leather apron 
rolled down his sleeves and sallied from his 
shop to lodge a complaint at the door of Plupy s 
house, to which citadel that prudent youth 
promptly retired at the first jingle of flying 

"Naou, Mrs. Shute," said this much-tried in 
dividual, "I don t think it jest right. This tarnal 
son of yours got me this mawnin to fix him a 
stick for firin apples n what duz he dew but 
go a firin rocks right threw my winder. Naou 
I ve got to jes go n hire sum un to mend that 
winder, n pay em fifteen cents jes likes not. 
Naou whaddier think on t?" 

"Well, Mr. Dyer," said that much-tried ma 
tron kindly, "I am quite sure Harry did not in 
tend to break your window, and especially after 
your kindness to him. I think if he was intend 
ing to break a window he would not do it quite 
so near home," she added. "Harry," she called, 
"come down here." 

Plupy reappeared, having been leaning over 
the banisters listening with all his ears, and now 


Naou, whaddier think on t?" 


began to justify his mother s confidence by vo 
ciferous explanation. 

"Honest now, mother, I didn t mean to plug 
his window. I was jest letting ding at old Si 
Smith s dog, n it slipped, n went through Sam s 

"Mr. Dyer," she corrected quietly. 

"Yes um, Mister Dyer," hastily assented 

"Wa-a-a-1," said the mollified blacksmith, "I 
spusso. I seen that air cussed dog n I wuz 
agoin to fire a rock at him myself. In course 
ye ll pay fer my winder, Mrs. Shute, slongs 
Harry broke it." 

"Oh, yes, of course, Mr. Dyer, how much 
will it be?" 

"Wa-a-a-1," he drawled making a mental cal 
culation, "seems sough a feller had orter git 
bout twenty-five cents for getting mos scart to 
death n hevin a winder broke." 

"That is certainly reasonable, Mr. Dyer," 
said Plupy s mother, handing him a ten and a 
fifteen cent script. "It will of course, Harry, 



come out of your cornet money, and will, I 
hope, teach you to be more careful," she contin 
ued, whereat Plupy looked very much dis 
gusted, as the accumulation of a fund sufficient 
to purchase a cornet had been the darling ambi 
tion of his young life. 

All interest in life had now departed, and he 
listlessly dragged his shambling length to the 
front fence and slowly climbed upon the top rail 
where he sat moodily dangling his legs and mus 
ing upon the dreadful accumulation of disap 
pointments and outrages to which he was pecu 
liarly subject. Life was hard indeed. Other 
fellows have luck, he didn t. 

As he sat there in moody silence, Pewt and 
Potter, returning from their fishing trip, jubi 
lantly hailed him and held up each a string of 
kivers and small perch with a few undersized 

"Ya-ah, Plupy," roared Pewt derisively, 
"thotcher was going with us." 

"Huh, couldn t, father made me stay in 
cause I didn t split my kinlins," said Plupy re- 


sentfully, glowering at the remembrance of his 

"That s too bad, Plupy," said Potter sym 

"That s so, Plupy, your old man s meaner n 
tripe. I heard old man Collins say he cheated 
him and he had orter be hung." 

Now Plupy, however indignant he might feel 
with his father in his own small bosom, did not 
allow his good name to be traduced, and he 
promptly called Pewt a liar, who instantly re 
torted that Plupy was another, and that his 
father was a bigger one. Plupy, although he 
might have passed over the personal application 
of the term, could not forgive it as applied to 
his father and flopped from his perch and as 
sumed a ludicrous posture of offense, with one 
arm extended and one crossed over his chin, the 
middle joint of his third and little finger pro 
jecting beyond the others, which was supposed 
to give a cutting edge to his fists that nothing 
but brass knuckles could exceed. 

Pewt promptly dropped his pole and string 



of fish and threw himself into an attitude of de 
fence, doubling his fists more tightly than Plupy, 
but projecting the middle joint of a second fin 
ger, a proceeding which was popularly supposed 
to be very conducive to black eyes. 

At these warlike demonstrations, several sta 
ble loafers and hostlers, who had been dozing 
in the sun in front of the stables, woke up and 
urged the boys, who were warily circling round 
each other, to sail in. As this encouragement 
did not precipitate matters, someone pushed 
Plupy violently into Pewt, who received him 
with vigorous punches. The fight was on. 
Plupy swung his arms like the spokes of a 
wheel. Pewt delivered sidewinders, rib-roast 
ers and semi-circular digs. They clinched, 
writhed, twisted and fell, Pewt uppermost. 

Plupy s legs wildly waved in the air vainly 
seeking purchase, then doubled under him. His 
stomach rose like a bow, there was a violent 
twist and Pewt was turned. But he squirmed 
out and they half rose, punching, pulling hair 
and twisting like eels, down they rolled off the 



sidewalk, Pewt again underneath, but they 
were pulled apart by more scientific bystanders 
and told to stand up like men. 

At it they went, each one apparently trying to 
put in as many blows in a given time as he could, 
a clinch, a twist, and a fall. Again they grovel 
in the dust. Plupy tries to pull out every spear 
of Pewt s stringy and copious thatch; Pewt tries 
to obliterate all signs of humanity from Plupy s 
freckled countenance. 

It looked as if both would be successful when 
suddenly there was an abrupt change of senti 
ment in the crowd, and old Mike Hartnett, who 
had been the most active in egging on hostili 
ties, tore them apart with stern reproaches, just 
as Plupy s mother appeared, called from the 
duty of putting to sleep a wakeful baby by 
Keene s staccato shrieks of "Harry s a fightin , 
Harry s a fightin ," and took forcible possession 
of the most demoralized youth imaginable. His 
jacket was covered with dust and dragged over 
his head, one leg of his trousers pulled to his 
knee, his hair standing every way, his mouth 


swollen and his face scratched. 

Pewt was also in the most astonishing condi 
tion possible, and looked as if he had been 
shaken up in a corncracker. 

Plupy was hurried to the house by his horri 
fied mother, notwithstanding his protestations 
and excuses, and sent to his room to spend the 
rest of the day in solitary confinement. He felt 
that this was unjust, but he recked not of injus 
tice. He had played the man, and the deep 
and unspoken satisfaction that comes of a duty 
well done swelled up in his breast and filled him 
with a sweet elation. 

But he soon began to be uneasy. He was im 
prisoned. The outside world never before 
seemed so beautiful, so alluring. It seemed as 
though he must get out. He would. He lis 
tened. Everything was quiet about the house. 
Keene and Cele had gone over to Lucy Wat 
son s, Georgie was in Aunt Clark s side of the 
house, Frankie and Annie were taking their af 
ternoon naps, and the soft creak of his mother s 
rocking-chair as she sung them to sleep was the 



only sound in the house. 

Outside the rhythmic tink, tink of the black 
smith s hammer was heard. He rose and 
peered out of the window. Nobody in sight. If 
he could only get down the back way, but his 
mother would see him. The front stairway led 
by his aunt s room. If he only had a rope he 
could let himself out of the window like Tom 
Bailey in the "Story of a Bad Boy." There 
used to be a clothesline in the back closet. He 
tiptoed into the entry and back to the closet. 
Bully, it was there, two long pieces. He would 
take them both to be sure. Back he went to the 
chamber and stealthily let them out of the win 
dow. Either was long enough. 

Hastily but quietly he tied one end of a 
rope to the bed post and tried it. It held. Then 
he carefully knotted the other end round his 
waist. He was not going to run the risk of 
warming his hands the way Tom Bailey did. 
He knew better than that. You bet he did. 

Then he stuck his head out of the window. 
Nobody in sight. He drew it in and then 



slowly and carefully a long thin leg came over 
the window sill, then another, followed by a 
lanky body. There was a pause and then he 
cautiously grasped the rope and let himself 
drop. There was a wild clutch for the window, 
a yell, and a tremendous splash, and the open 
rain-water hogshead, filled to the brim with te 
pid water, received him and charitably hid him 
from sight. 

He had tied the wrong rope round his waist. 

And when the bewildered mother came run 
ning to the door with her rudely awakened and 
blinking baby in her arms, she beheld her grace 
less and dripping son climbing out of the rain 
barrel, his hair plastered down on his scratched 
face, and his dripping garments clinging close 
to his skinny limbs and emphasizing the ludi 
crous lines of his figure. 

He had tied the wrong rope 


"There was an old woman 
Who lived in a shoe 
She had so many children 
She didn t know what to do." 

Mother Goose. 

JUST what kind of settlement poor Plupy 
had with his father on his return from 
Boston that night is known only to 
Plupy and his father. 

Before pitying the young man too 
much it would be well to remember that the 
elder Shute was more than locally famous for a 
keen sense of humor, and in his boyhood had 
done perhaps more than his fair share in turn 
ing the village of Exeter upside down. So it 
is fair to suppose that a graphic description of 
old Seth Tanner profanely chasing two wholly 
innocent but active boys, and the further por 
trayal of his son climbing dripping from the 
rain-water barrel would tend to put him in so 


cheerful a humor as to practically disarm hostil 
ity to that graceless youth. 

Whatever he thought or did in the matter, he 
made no objection when Plupy s mother, ac 
cording to her custom in such cases, prepared a 
most appetizing meal and carried it up to the 
imprisoned youth. 

Indeed, Plupy s father as he sat that evening 
under the apple tree smoking, laughed heartily 
now and then and indulged in sinful delight in 
reminiscences of his boyhood, which showed 
him to be in the most cheerful humor. 

It was open to suspicion whether or not he 
was delighted beyond measure at the good ac 
count his son had rendered of himself in his 
fight with Pewt, as he was heard to remark that 
if he would only lick that Watson boy too he 
would be satisfied. 

The family of which Plupy was a most prom 
inent if not strictly ornamental member, was the 
most delightful family imaginable. The father, 
Mr. George Shute, a tall, handsome, well-built 
and athletic man, was a clerk in the Boston Cus- 



torn House, to which municipality he betook 
himself at a very early hour, and returned at 
5.30 P. M. He knew everyone on the train, 
had a keen shaft of wit or a jolly laugh for 
everyone. His duties in the office consisted 
mainly in telling amusing stories, and making 
semi-occasional entries in a huge ledger. 

That these duties were of a very important 
nature was evident from the fact that he was a 
well-paid official. His family was, however, 
numerous and hearty to such an astonishing de 
gree that his income was barely sufficient for 
their combined wants. 

Mrs. Shute, Joe as he called her, was a rather 
plump woman, with a strong, handsome, and 
most kindly face. She was an active, strong, 
and constant worker, giving her whole time to 
the care and management of her family, and 
having no time for outside matters. A fine 
pianist, she never had time to play. A beauti 
ful alto singer, her voice was seldom heard ex 
cept in singing cradle songs to the younger chil 



Aunt Sarah, a sister of Mrs. Shute, was one 
of those rare examples of an utterly unselfish 
woman, who gave her entire energies to the wel 
fare of others, and in particular to the swarm 
of Shute children, every one of whom was in her 
eyes the most beautiful, the most accomplished 
and the most obedient of children. 

How such an opinion was possible in the 
mind of any person of good sense is not clear 
to the unprejudiced mind. Although certainly 
given to vagaries in relation to these children, 
in all other respects she was unquestionably of 
sound mind and memory. 

She indulged these children lavishly, which 
was not good for them, and the only times she 
lost her temper in the household was on the fre 
quent occasions when the elder Shute, accom 
panied by a strap and the reluctant Plupy, re 
tired to the woodshed for important business 
transactions, when she retired precipitately, and 
with indignant looks, to her chamber and 
banged the door. 

Again, she never would believe the com- 


plaints of any persons, however irreproachable 
their character, who reported misdemeanors of 
her nephews or nieces, and even when subse 
quent confessions were made by the malefac 
tors, she obstinately maintained that they were 
wrung from them by threats of torture, and 
were wholly unfounded. 

The oldest daughter, Celia, was a dark-eyed 
young lady with long black curls a demure 
miss, with a mind attuned to music and poetry, 
but with a most unexpected leaning for Beadle s 
Dime Novels. The perusal of these highly- 
flavored, frowned-on, but delightful books im 
parted such a style to her own narratives that 
when, as the oldest girl, she was left in charge 
of the family, she seldom experienced any diffi 
culty in keeping them quiet, as the announce 
ment that "Cele s goin to tell a story" brought 
them about her, respectful and attentive, and 
kept them there breathless and deliciously hor 
rified until the end. 

Although a peaceful damsel, she would in 
cases of necessity maintain her authority by the 



sword even if she had to proceed to extremities 
and box the ears of the entire crowd, one after 

Cornelia, or Keene, the second daughter, was 
a tornado in short skirts. She could run, climb, 
quarrel, make up faces, sew, knit, do tatting, or 
fight with her brother on the slightest cause. She 
was as lively as her elder sister was quiet, and 
although most of the time a state of most comi 
cal warfare existed between herself and Plupy, 
she stuck by him in adversity, and on many oc 
casions when he was hard pressed by enemies 
from without, and the tide of battle was going 
against him, threw her fighting weight in the 
balance, and won glorious victories for the fam 
ily cause. 

She and Cele both had clear voices, remark 
ably true to pitch, and sang the sad ballads of 
the day most tunefully at church sociables, Sun 
day school concerts and similar festivities, Cele 
accompanying jinglingly or droningly upon pi 
ano or organ as the case might be. "Now I Lay 
Me Down to Sleep," "Evangeline," "I Know 



a Bank," "The Gypsy s Warning," and other 
cheerful madrigals were more than familiar to 
audiences at these fascinating functions. 

Harry, the oldest boy, familiarly known as 
Plupy, Skinny, or Polelegs, on account of the 
colt-like angularness of his build, perhaps needs 
no extended description. Nature had evidently 
made him out of cast-off and misfit materials. 
He was of astonishing lankiness, tow-head 
ed, freckled, and homely, bearing not the 
slightest resemblance to any member of the fam 
ily. His main object in life, judging by his suc 
cess, seemed to be getting into scrapes of his 
own, for which he was thrashed, and taking 
with raucous protestations, other boys thrash 
ings which he didn t deserve. His ambition was 
to be a bandman, and he loved music even bet 
ter than witnessing fights or riding on hacks, 
and was gifted with a mellow alto voice. He 
considered singing with his sisters as beneath 
the dignity of a soon-to-be cornet player; and 
when forced by polite invitation or stern paren 
tal command to bear a part in duet, trio or fam- 



ily chorus, purposely and with rare skill sang 
so much out of tune that he was speedily ex 
cused from further performance. 

Georgie, the next child, two years younger, 
was a very demure young lady, somewhat ad 
dicted to Sunday school and general goodness. 
She had a sturdy little backbone, however, and 
no threats, cajoleries or sophistries could turn 
her from a course that received her moral sanc 
tion. She was not as gifted musically as her 
brothers and sisters, but could commit to mem 
ory with astonishing skill anything that she 

Annie and Frank, four and five years of age, 
spent most of their time playing together or 
fighting, in which they were about equally pro 

This propensity of theirs was utilized by 
Plupy, who always took occasion, when no re 
straining influence was nigh, to set them fight 
ing and doubled himself up with sinful pleasure 
at the comical contortions of the tiny warriors. 

Ned, the baby, was a handsome, fat, and rosy 



youngster about eight months of age, just be 
ginning to creep about, and the object of de 
voted attentions from the entire family. 

In fact, all the Shute children were good 
looking except Plupy, who seemed to be a sort 
of black sheep in various ways, which, while it 
at times caused him to feel a bit lonesome, af 
forded him a sort of pride in his peculiar claims 
to distinction. 

That high jinks were the order of the day in 
that household was not surprising. It was a 
wonder that the good mother and aunt kept 
their sanity from day to day. Scarcely a day 
passed but what a temporary hospital was set 
up in Aunt Sarah s or mother s room. Plupy 
had been gashed all over with jackknives, stone- 
bruised to satiety, and green-appled almost to 

In times of epidemic the house was a sort of 
insane hospital. Did one child return from 
school with the seeds of chicken-pox deeply im 
bedded in its system, every brother and sister 
straightway contracted the disease. Did one 



small unfortunate develop measles, the whole 
seven at once developed sore throats, inflamed 
eyes, and fretful dispositions, and made life a 
burden for themselves and their faithful nurses. 
No child escaped, and the different maladies oc 
casionally claimed an adult Shute as its prey. 

Indeed, when mumps came along and took 
violent possession of the family, the mother had 
the worst case of all, and the spectacle of seven 
children and one-grown-up sitting in the sick 
room with their swollen and distorted faces 
bearing ludicrous resemblance to huge pump 
kins, not one of them daring to laugh for fear 
of cracking their jaws, was a most amusing 

The children were generally well, however, 
and in the opinion of good Doctor Perry, the 
family physician, "as healthy as rats." Plupy, 
whose feet were wet every day from the first 
fall of snow in December to its disappearance 
in the ensuing March, had hideous colds and a 
portentously hollow cough, and added to his 
peculiarities of appearance by wearing a red 






flannel rag around his neck, enclosing pork 
sprinkled with black pepper. 

They were indeed an engaging and amusing 


"The amount of devilment those three boys can crowd 
into a half holiday beats all." George Shute (soliloquiz 
ing viva voce). 


morning after the fall of Plupy 
the family were sitting at break 
fast. The father had departed to 
Boston, and the children were 
ranged about the table, the baby 
next to its mother, Plupy and Keene carefully 
separated from each other by the width of the 
table, to prevent active hostilities which occa 
sionally arose between them. 

A slight cloud was visible on the expressive 
features of that young man, as he was not al 
lowed coffee, and Cele and Keene were per 
mitted twice a week to drink a much-diluted cup 
of that liquid, and were assuming some airs in 
consequence. Piupy had also been severely 
reprimanded by his mother and had incurred 
the displeasure of the family by taking advan- 


tage of an opportunity when his mother s back 
was turned, to offer the baby a pickle to suck, 
which evoked hideous faces and loud howls of 
disgust from that small martyr, and brought 
the entire family to his chair to soothe and 
caress him. As a further punishment poor 
Plupy was promptly restricted to butter on his 
fritters instead of a combination of butter, su 
gar and syrup. 

Attention was happily diverted from the in 
cident by the arrival of the kind-hearted black 
smith, who, thinking he had been a little severe 
the day before, entered the dining-room with a 
neighborly freedom, and handed a beautiful 
bunch of chrysanthemums with the words, 
"Here, Mrs. Shute, thot ye d like these er old 
woman s Christian Anthems, they ve jest be 
gun to bloom. Didn t hev no luck with the 
tarnation pinks this year." 

Plupy s mother thanked the worthy man and 
he withdrew and soon the musical tink-tink of 
his hammer on the anvil broke the summer si 



Just then Beany s whistle was heard in the 
street followed by a mellow "Hoo-ee" and 
Plupy, hastily wiping his mouth on his napkin 
and cramming it unfolded in his napkin ring, 
muttered "Scuse me please" and was making 
for the door, when his mother called him. 

"Harry, have you fed the hens?" 

"Yessum, fore breakfus," said Plupy, nod 
ding violently. 

"Have you filled the woodbox?" 

"No-o-om," said Plupy, dubiously casting a 
side glance at that cavernous receptacle, "they 

is some in it." 

"Well, before you go off, I want you to fill 
the woodbox, and then you must go down town 
for some errands." 

"Ma, can t Keene n Cele go, they don t have 
nothin to do?" queried Plupy with an injured 

"Yes we do too, Ma," retorted both young 
ladies warmly. 

"We have to help get breakfast," said Keene. 

" N wash dishes," added Cele. 


" N sweep," said Keene. 

" N take care of the baby, n dress Frankie n 
Annie," said Cele. 

" N practise our music lessons," said Keene. 

" N sew n do tattin ," said Cele. 

" N do mos all the errands," summed up 
Keene, triumphantly. 

"Aw," said Plupy derisively. 

"That will do, children," said Plupy s moth 
er, "now go right off and get in your wood, 

Thus adjured, Plupy went to the door and 
sent a loud "Hoo-ee" into space, which prompt 
ly brought "Beany," a plump and wide awake 
youngster, from across the road. 

"Hi, Beany," said Plupy, "whatcher goin to 

"Les go down to Jim Ellison s blacksmith 
shop and plug hosses with sling-shots. Yester 
day Jim was tryin to shoe Ed. Towle s father s 
Silvertail and me and Fatty Oilman was hid be 
hind Si Smith s fence and jest as soon as Jim 
would get one of her hoofs up between his legs 



we would let ding at her, and she would rare 
up and jump and kick, and Jim would go over 
backwards, holler and swear and lick her. 
N bimeby he got Bill Hartnett to put a twist 
on her nose and then she would jump and they 
couldn t shoe her and they told Ed. s father 
never to bring her there agen," said Beany in 
great glee. 

"No, less not do that," demurred Plupy, "got 
licked like time for that las Saturday. Old Si 
told father about it and he said he would skin 
me if he ever caught me doin it agen." 

"Harry," called his mother, "I am waiting 
for that wood." 

"Yessum," said Plupy. "Come on Beany n 
help a feller." 

"All right, Plupy," said Beany, "betcher I 
can lug a bigger armful than you." 

"Betcher can t," said Plupy. 



So each boy rushed to the shed, loaded him 
self with huge armfuls of pine wood and stag- 



gered groaningly to the kitchen. Now, in their 
mutual emulation they had piled it up so high 
that they could not see where they were going, 
and Plupy with bulging eyes and contorted coun 
tenance turned to the left by mistake and be 
fore his mother could warn him deposited his 
entire load with a crash in the kitchen sink, 
much to his amazement and confusion. 

While the family, aroused from the break 
fast by the unusual noise, were doubling with 
laughter over Plupy s misfortune, a most out 
rageous rattling, bumping, banging and clashing 
was heard, followed by protracted howls of an 
guish from the cellar. Beany had also blindly 
groped his way with even a larger load than 
Plupy, had missed the woodbox and had fallen 
down the cellar stairs, carrying in his headlong 
course tin pans, pails, mops and dustpans with 
which the passage was hung and landing in the 
soft soap vat. 

In an instant there was a confusion of 
tongues, and great juvenile excitement, in the 
midst of which the two much-tried ladies rushed 


to the rescue and bore the soap-besmeared and 
luckless youth to the kitchen, where it was 
found he was not seriously hurt. 

The filling of the wood box was then com 
pleted without further accident and the boys 
presented themselves to Plupy s mother for fur 
ther orders. 

u Now Harry, remember, I want you to go to 
Mr. Haley s and get me three pounds of steak 
and three pounds of pork sausages, then to Mr. 
Conner s and get a half bushel of potatoes and 
two dozen eggs. Now don t forget, and stop 
pinching Elbridge." 

U A11 right, Ma, I ll remember," said Plupy, 
"three pounds of steak and pork sausages at 
old man Haley s, and half a bushel of potatoes 
and two dozen eggs at old Tom Conner s," he 
continued glibly, "we can remember, can t we 

u You bet," said Beany. 

So the two small boys went gaily down town, 
chasing, pushing, wrestling and tripping each 
other up. 


Beany took with him tin pans, 
pails, mops and dustpans 


"Mr. Haley, wanter half bushel er pork sau 
sages and three pounds er steak," piped Plupy 
as they entered the market. 

"What do you mean?" said the amazed 
dealer, wiping his hands on his rough blue 
frock. "Your mother never sent you for a half 
bushel of sausages." 

"Yes, she did too, didn t she, Beany?" af 
firmed Plupy. 

"Yes she did, honest now," said Beany, 
"three pounds of steak and a half bushel of 
pork sausages. Hope to die." 

"Well," said the dealer as he fished several 
festoons of that dainty from an ice box, "don t 
believe I have got more n fifteen pounds in the 
shop, but I ll take those up, and if she wants 
some more I can get em, but I don t see what 
she can do with so many." 

The boys clattered out of the shop and went 
down Water street, occasionally stopping to 
look in store windows. When after an inter 
minable time they arrived at Conner s store 
they had forgotten what they wanted. "What- 



cher spose it was, Beany?" said Plupy. 

"I ve forgot," said Beany, wrinkling up his 
brow. "It was three pounds of something and 
a half bushel of something else." 

"I know," said Plupy, "we got a half bushel 
of sausages at old Haley s, and it was two 
pounds of potatoes and two dozen clothespins," 
said Plupy delightedly, "I tell you, Beany, I 
don t forget things very easy." 

"Umph," growled the old gentleman, on re 
ceiving the order, "some folks give mighty 
small orders." 

"Praps she wanted to see if they was good 
ones, father said the last potatoes we got here 
wasn t bigger n bird shot," explained Plupy 

"Boy, don t be sassy," said the old gentle 
man, firing up. 

"That s what he said," said Plupy, edging 
towards the door, "I ain t sassy." 

Their errands finished, they debated what to 
do. Plupy wanted to go fishing for eels down 
by the raceway, Beany to see if they couldn t get 



a ride on a hack. After much argument they 
compromised matters by going up to Major 
Blake s stable, where a variety of mishaps be 
fell them. 



Mike introduces a novel but effective method of dis 


Squamscott House stables were 
on Court street in Exeter and well 
in the rear of that flourishing hotel. 
It was a most interesting and lively 
place at all times, but not exactly 
the sort of a place in which one would like to 
bring up children. 

The class of assistants in the stable was some 
what given to liquor and low language, but 
were in the main hearty, good-natured fellows, 
who were nobody s enemies but their own. They 
were perfectly willing to let other people do 
their work, and particularly civil to Plupy and 
Beany, who were only too delighted to do any 
work, except at home, from washing carriages 
to rubbing down horses and running errands. 
Adjoining the stables was the harness shop of 


old Mr. Kellogg, a very worthy and decidedly 
grumpy old gentleman who passed his waking 
hours in alternately straddling a wooden horse 
and drawing waxed thread through harness 
leather, and chasing disrespectful urchins with a 

He glared at the world through horn spec 
tacles and was the most formidable looking old 
chap imaginable. 

As the boys arrived at the stable a loud and 
profane altercation was heard inside, followed 
by a noisy scuffle, as the head hostler, old Mike, 
came out of the broad door backwards, drag 
ging after him the reluctant and writhing figure 
of Dinkey Nealey, who was in a condition of 
intoxication frightful to behold. After old 
Mike had kicked him into the street he beck 
oned to the two boys, who approached much re 
freshed in mind by the not unusual but intensely 
interesting spectacle. 

"Come in, bhoys," said Mike, who had kissed 
the blarney stone in early life. "Oi ve been 
lukin for two schmart foine young felleys to do 



jist a wee bit o wurrk. Dinky s droonk and 
the Gate mare n pianny box boogy s ordered 
fur noine o clock. Jist ta-a-ke hold noo en 
wash the boogy, n help a mon." 

Willingly the boys complied, and while one 
squirted water from a small foot pump, the oth 
er whirled the jacked-up wheels and plied the 
sponges. But, as is usual in such cases, the pos 
session of any sort of an engine for throwing 
water, from a rubber ball with a hole in it to a 
force pump, induces in the mind of a small boy 
an unconquerable desire to wet someone down. 

So Plupy and Beany had been engaged in 
their delightful pastime but a few minutes when 
Beany improved the occasion by turning the 
hose on Plupy and thoroughly wetting his paper 
collar and false bosom. Plupy promptly dodged 
behind a partition and retaliated by taking 
Beany in the small of the back with a full stable 
sponge and then from his comparatively safe 
position he alternately peeped and dodged, 
jeering at Beany, who let fly at him whenever 
his head appeared. 



Now "Old Mike," seeing Plupy apparently 
loafing, tiptoed softly along with the stable 
broom, a most formidable instrument made of 
birch withes, with the praiseworthy intention of 
giving him a fraternal welt, as a mild incentive 
to renewed exertion. 

Arrived within reach he sprang from his con 
cealment with a "Whirroo !" of triumph, just as 
Plupy poked out his hand and Beany sent a 
stream hissing in his direction. Back dodged 
Plupy just in time to receive the broom across 
his back, while the stream of water struck old 
Mike fairly in his broad and hitherto unwashed 
face, sending him staggering backwards, cough 
ing and strangling. 

"Aaugh-aaugh-ye murdherin divils, ough-aa- 
a-ugh," he coughed, doubling himself up, while 
Beany and Plupy, having rapidly put the road 
way between them and their convulsed victim, 
awaited his recovery in some trepidation. 

Mike was not long in recovering his breath, 
and grasping his broom looked about balefully 
for the boys, muttering threats. Becoming 



aware of their escape he began to wheedle, "Ar- 
rah, now, byes, oi doant ta-a-ke me wather jist 
that wa-a-y or so much av it. Coom over noo," 
crooking his huge forefinger at the boys. 

"Guess not," said Beany, "ye want to lam 


"Divil a bit," said the bland Michael. "Come 
on noo, Auld Moike wo-o-nt hur-rt the loikes 
of ye." 

"Cross your throat," said Plupy. 

Mike gave an exaggerated swoop across his 

"Say, Hope to die, " insisted Beany. 

Mike raised his horny hands aloft and called 
down upon his head the most terrible penalties, 
at the conclusion of which impressive ceremon 
ies the boys, reassured, approached the restored 
Milesian, and resumed operation on the buggy 
with the sponges and chamois, Mike having laid 
an embargo on the force pump, occasionally 
breaking into spasms of laughter over Mike s 

"Be gob, byes," said Mike, smiling broadly, 


"f ye d squir-r-ted some of th rale auld sthuft 
at me, oi wouldn t ha moinded it, but wather 
from an auld pump, aaugh !" he finished ex 
pressively, and he betook himself gruntingly to 
his work of rubbing down the Gate mare, a 
shapely, long-bodied bay. 

For a while nothing was heard but the sooth 
ing grunts of Mike as he rubbed and curried 
and smoothed the mare, and the subdued gig 
gles of the two boys as they polished the buggy. 

"Now, byes," said Mike, having harnessed 
the mare, "wad ye be a ta-a-kin ahl day for a tin 
minit jhob? Rhun out th boogy," and they 
held up the shafts while Mike backed the mare 
between them and held her while they fastened 
the traces and breeching. This done they were 
allowed to climb into the buggy and were told 
to drive the mare around to the hotel where the 
gentleman who had ordered her was waiting. 

Some dispute arose as to who should drive, 
but this was cut short by Mike, who promptly 
decided in favor of Beany, promising Plupy 
next chance. "Shure now, Polelegs, let little 



Fat Belly dhrive this wanst, an* yees can dhrive 
the nixt out." 

So Beany, gleefully seizing the reins, clucked 
to the mare and she obediently trotted out of 
the stable yard. Drawing up in front of the 
hotel Plupy got out and made the announcement 
at the office that the team was ready, and the 
sporty-looking man, who was waiting, at once 
retired to the bar-room for another bracer, tell 
ing the boys to trot her round the square. 

This was a most delightful surprise to the 
boys and away they went. The Gate mare was 
a well-broken animal, but high spirited and fast, 
and in a brush down the street could hold her 
own with any stable crack in the town, not ex 
cepting Levi Towle s "Johnny Roach." 

Now everything would have gone smoothly 
had not the boys overtaken Fatty Gilman and 
Billy Swett, who were driving "Old Chub," 
Fatty s family horse, which, although old and 
fat, was quite fast, and as Fatty at once pulled 
out the whip and began to lambaste his old plug, 
emphasizing his desire by loud yells of encour- 



agement, our friends could not resist the temp 
tation to go down the stretch with them. 

A word was enough for the mare at any time, 
but a yell such as the boys at once let out, and 
a cut with the whip was more than sufficient. 
It wasn t safe to whip the Gate mare. She went 
into the collar with a jump that nearly jerked 
the boys heads off, passed the other horse as if 
he had been hitched to a post, and disappeared 
up the street in a cloud of dust. 

It was nearly a mile from town before the 
frightened boys managed to pull the excited 
mare down sufficiently to turn her into a yard 
and stop her. 

Then they got out and petted and soothed 
her, fed her with grass and dusted the buggy 
with their handkerchiefs, and then carefully 
drove back. When they arrived at the hotel 
they found the sporty-looking man and his 
friend very much excited and indignant, and 
arguing the matter loudly and profanely with 
old Major Blake, the proprietor, who in turn 
was berating the innocent Michael for having 


let the boys drive the mare. 

A general shout greeted their appearance, 
and as they drove up Mike seized the horse, 
and the Major dragged the boys from the bug 
gy and held them firmly by the collar. 

"Lemme be," said Plupy indignantly, "I 
didn t do nothin ." 

"Me neither," said Beany with his head 
drawn about a foot out of plumb by the strong 
grip of the burly Major. 

"You infernal scoundrels," roared the Ma 
jor, "what did you drive that mare that way 

"Well," said Beany, that man told us to 
drive her around till he got ready, n, n," 

" N me n Beany started her n Fatty n Billy 
Swett came along with a trotter, n they yelled 
and went by us, n, n," chimed in Plupy, "n," 

" N first we knowed," said Beany, "she start 
ed n passed them jest flukin n we both pulled 
n pulled n we got way up t old man Giddinses 
fore we could stop her, n, n," 

" N you sh d seen us pass Fatty s boss, gorry, 


we went so fast t I couldn t see the telegraph 
poles mos ," said Beany, smiling expansively 
and conscious that he touched a responsive 
chord in the breast of the old Major. 

"Oi guess, Major, ye d better lit the byes 
goa," said Mike, "shure taint ivery bye that 
w d bring her back without sma-a-shin th boo- 
gy, its too good harses ye has, ontoirely. Wun 
av Char-r-les Toales harses woodent run awaa 
if ye hit im with a goon." 

At this the Major, much mollified, let go the 
boys collars, and withdrew to the porch, where 
he seated himself ponderously and smoked con 
templatively, while Mike, accompanied by the 
boys, returned to the stable, old Mike taking 
much credit to himself for the adroit way in 
which he extricated them from what he termed 
"a divil av a schrape." 

"Shure, byes," he said confidentially, "twas 
auld Mike that sa-a-ved yer loife this toime. 
Auld Moike hez a wa-a-y with th auld Major. 
He d a kilt ye shure. An ye wouldn t be aboove 
hilpin a mon with jist a bit av work?" 



Both boys assured him of their willingness to 
do anything in reason, and shortly found them 
selves with jack and grease-pot, greasing axles, 
and their own hands and clothes rather indis 
criminately, while Mike rubbed down the horses 
and wheedled the boys, stimulating them to fur 
ther exertions by jovial and uproarious Hibern 
ian songs, occasionally stopping to apostrophize 
the horses somewhat profanely, when they 
cringed and winced under his vigorous hands. 

"Twas in the moonth av Joon, 
From me ho-o-me Oi sthar-r-rted." 

"Say, Mike," said Beany, "do you know what 
old Seth Tanner said about ye?" 

"Noi, oi doant, n oi doant care a dom fhwat 
he says," said Mike, stopping his song a mo 
ment and then resuming. 

"Ahl tti byes y n gals wuz nearly broken-hearted, 
Kissed me sister dear-r, y n" 

"He says he can lick ye, Mike," said Plupy 


in a tentative manner. 

"Oho," said Mike, suspending operations 
again, "he sid thot, dud he? Th auld dronken 
bhum, auld Mike cud lick tin of the loikes av 
him, till him thot!" 

"W thin 01 kissed me wither 
Dhrank a pint av bheer, me faleins for to 

"Mike, why didn t you go to war? Old Seth 
did," inquired Beany again. 

"Faith," said Mike, " twud be gude riddance 
t auld Seth f he d sthaid there/ 

"But why didn t you go, Mike?" insisted 

"Wull," said Mike with a complaisant smile, 
"the bist min av th toon had to sthay t hoom 
with th la-a-dies, an th bist lukin wans too." 

"Aw now," said Plupy, disgustedly, "that 
ain t th reason." 

"Arra now, whot a bye yez be for knowin 
fule things. Well, oi alwuz think th bhut ind 


av agoon th sa-a-fist ind, av yez kape away from 
both inds, n th sa-a-fist ind av a sword is th 
handle, excipt for the other felly. Bhut th bist 
wa-a-y-y fight is with a wee sthick av black 
thorn, or with a mon s two fhists, begob." 

"Was you a good fighter, Mike?" queried 

"Oi wuz thot," said Mike. 

"Could you lick Fuzzy Thurston?" said 
Plupy in turn. 

"Oi cud that, aisy," said Mike. 

"Why didn t you las Saturday night, when 
he called you a broad faced Mick?" persisted 
Plupy, somewhat impolitely. 

"He was droonk, n a rale Oirishman niver 
hits a mon whin he is droonk." 

"Sposin they is both drunk?" asked Beany. 

"Wull," said Mike, with a reminiscent grin, 
"th has been toimes whin oi wuz myshtified 
with th drink moiself, n things wuz a bit loive- 
ly." He leaned against the door of the barn, 
filled his pipe with black plug, put on the cover, 
tipped it upside down, and began to puff loudly. 


A terrific odor of burning tobacco arose, Mike 
puffed and sniffed ecstatically, and closed his 

"Mike," said Plupy, "whatcher smoking, 

"Nor," said Mike dreamily, "th bist of auld 
nagur hid." 

Suddenly there came a flash and an explo 
sion; lighting up Mike s face as with a halo, 
and the bowl of the pipe disappeared as if by 
enchantment, leaving Mike holding about an 
inch of the stem in his teeth, and with a look of 
complete bewilderment on his honest counte 

"Howly Hivins," he ejaculated at length, "oi 
thot someone had foired a goon at me." 

"Did it hurt ye, Mike?" asked the two boys, 
who, although entirely innocent of complicity in 
the trick, were so full of laughter they could 
scarcely speak. 

"Hur-r-t, is ot?" said Moike, eyeing the boys 
furtively as they approached, "ho-ho it s not 
hur-r-t that oi am at ahl at ahl. Auld Moike 


niver moinds a jhoke. Oho," he continued 
pointing at something on the ground near, "luk 
at th ould poipe." 

"As the boys approached to look, Mike made 
a sudden spring, his long arms reached out like 
fish-poles, his huge hands grasped each collar 
and in a second the astonished boys were mak 
ing their rapid but unwilling way towards the 
huge watering trough. 

"We didn t do it, Mike, honest now, hope to 
die, cross our throats," they yelled in terror. 

"Ye young divils, oi ll tache ye to play jhokes 
on an auld mon. First yez squir-r-t me full of 
wather, n thin ye thry to blow me oop with 
poodher. Oi can t set fire to yez, for yez too 
grane to burn, bhut oi ll give yez ahl th wather 
yez want." 

In vain they twisted, writhed and struggled. 
In vain they protested. In they went all over, 
and as two dripping, bedraggled and indignant 
boys legged it for home, they solemnly prom 
ised to keep out of low company for the future, 
a promise they broke the next day. 




Plupy tries to blend a dog fight and a very exclusive social 
function into one harmonious whole. 

*HE thorough drenching Plupy had 
received made it incumbent on that 

unfortunate youth to go to bed un 

til his clothes dried. To speak 
more accurately, he did not go to 
bed, but retired to his room, and attired in gar 
ments insufficient for public appearance, but 
quite appropriate for a hot day, leaned from 
the window and viewed the outer world with 
bitterness and repining in his heart. 

He was a little more afflicted by his banish 
ment on seeing Beany, whose wardrobe was 
more extensive than his, restricted to the pa 
ternal yard, but not immured in a dungeon. 
And he had promised to go in swimming with 
the Chadwick boys that afternoon at the "Ed- 



If Cele would only come up and read "Billy 
Bowlegs" or "Nat Todd" to him, there would 
be some fun. But Cele was mad because he 
had written a letter to Billy Swett and signed 
Cele s name to it. Father said they sent people 
to jail sometimes for that. He said it was, he 
couldn t remember the name, but it sounded like 
fudging. It couldn t be that because fudging 
was cheating in playing marbles when you got 
up nearer than you ought to. Anyway he said 
it was something pretty tough. 

It was just like Cele to be mad at such a lit 
tle thing as that. Any way she might at least 
have sent up the book. Girls were mean things 
anyway. If he had a brother penned up in a 
room, you bet he would plug something up into 
his window, a book, or some juju paste or a 
picture paper or some green apples or some 

As Plupy thus gloomily meditated, he saw a 

farmer s team coming down the street, followed 

by a savage-looking bulldog, a strange dog, and 

his thoughts took a sudden turn into more ex- 



citing channels. 

"Gosh," he bet there would be a dog fight 
when that dog went by old Si Smith s store. His 
dog always came out at strange dogs. There 
would be a fight sure and he wouldn t see it. 
That was just his luck. If it was anyone else 
there would be a dog fight right in front of his 
window, but he never had any luck, not he. He 
bet it would be a good one and he wouldn t see 
it. Beany could, but Beany always had good 
luck, but he didn t. Beany s folks weren t as 
mean as his. They let Beany go out in his yard, 
where he could see dog fights and lots of things. 

All at once there was a sound like pulling a 
board, fastened with rusty nails, from a dry 
goods box, again repeated, the opening snarl of 
a dog fight. Plupy leaned from the window; he 
could seen Beany in great excitement looking 
down the street. The sounds grew more con 
fused, snarls, short muffled growls, the voices 
of excited bystanders. Plupy projected a yell 
of inquiry to Beany. 

"It s a buster," said Beany, jumping up and 


down, "they has got right hold of each other s 
gozzles and won t let go. Now the old man s 
layin onto em with his whip," said Beany, 
jumping up and down in his excitement, "now 
old Si is shaking his fist at him, now Squawboo 
Bowley is a kicking off the old man s dog. Hi ! 
Hi! Hi!" said Beany in great excitement, "the 
old man is lacing Squawboo with his whip and 
Squawboo s " 

Plupy could stand it no longer. He must see 
it notwithstanding his slightly informal costume. 
He opened his chamber door and listened. He 
could hear nothing of his family. They were 
probably out on the front steps looking at the 
fight. He bolted for the front chamber and 
rushed in. Horrors! what did he see? His 
sister Celia, dressed in her mother s long 
flounced silk, with lace collar and black half- 
mitts was gracefully presiding at a tea table, 
while Keene, sporting an immense water-fall, 
and garbed in her aunt s best black silk, was 
handing round tea and cakes to Lady Genevieve 
McAllister, (Lucy Watson), Countess Hilde- 


garde Buckingham (Jennie Morrison), and 
Princess Cassenova (Bessie Tilton). 

The effect of this skinny apparition, clad only 
in a night shirt, was marvellous. The ladies 
recoiled in horror. The Countess Hildegarde 
gave a loud shriek, Lady Genevieve covered 
her charming face with her bejewelled hands, 
Princess Cassenova laid her regal head on the 
table and covered it with her arms. But the 
hostesses were of sterner stuff, and after a pause 
of amazement Keene seized the pitcher and 
Cele an umbrella and rushed to repel boarders. 

They were too late, however, for Plupy, who 
was standing in a sort of saucer-eyed paralysis 
at the unexpected vision, let out a yell of abject 
surprise and mortification and fled to his room, 
while the outraged hostesses marched straight 
to their mother s room to lodge a complaint to 
the effect that "Harry had come right into their 
party without any clothes on, boo-hoo ! boo- 
hoo ! and he done it on purpose, boo-hoo ! boo- 
hoo !" 

They were pacified by further and unpre- 


cedented indulgence in seed-cookies and molas 
ses and water (best Hyson) and a promise of a 
searching investigation of the affair, whereupon 
they returned to their titled guests, and their 
mother proceeded to her son s room, where she 
found that youth cowering under the bed clothes 
in a state of mortification impossible to describe, 
which convinced her that his uninvited presence 
at the party was wholly innocent. 

Indeed, his distress was so great that, al 
though by this time his clothes were so thor 
oughly dried that he was given permission to 
dress and go out, he declined utterly and re 
clined gloomily in bed, declaring he would never 
go out of his room again as long as he lived. 
Nor did he recover his cheerfulness in the 
slightest degree until after supper, which was 
brought to him on a tray by a scornful sister, 
when he was allowed the rare luxury of reading 
in bed, and plunged so deep into the fascinating 
adventures of "Midshipman Easy," that he re 
solved to go to sea the next day, and not spend 
the rest of his young life in a chamber, and he 


fell asleep devising plans to pack his few treas 
ures in a handkerchief, steal out at midnight, 
cut a trusty stick and strike for the nearest 
coast-town to take a ship. 

As, however, he slept profoundly until morn 
ing, his journey was indefinitely postponed and 
his cheerfulness restored. 

And as he blithely split his kindlings in ad 
vance and filled the woodbox to the brim, he 
joyously planned making up for two days en 
forced abstinence from voluntary baths by go 
ing in swimming at least ten times that day. 



Plupy enters politics with the praisworthy intention of 
aiding his father to obtain a raise in salary. 


summer was passing only too 
rapidly. Early apples were begin 
ning to show red streaks on the 
side exposed to the sun. The 
worthy citizens of Exeter, having 
become, perforce, very adroit in dodging green 
apples thrown from a withe, now entered into 
the potato-ball season in excellent training. The 
bobolinks, whose nests the boys never could find 
under any circumstances, had brought up their 
russet colored offspring, had purchased of 
Old Mother Nature new travelling suits of 
brown, neat and close fitting, and were filling 
the brown, dry, close-mowed fields with their 
plaintive musical call "chink, chink." 

The snakes had shed their skins, and the boys 
had successfully imitated them, having succes- 


sively shed several thicknesses which the hot 
sun had burned from their blistered backs and 
shoulders, and now appeared as brown as rus 
set leather and as tough as wire rope. 

True, they had narrowly escaped death in 
horrid shapes from persistently eating half-rip 
ened fruit, and Plupy in particular had caused 
the good family doctor to resort to drastic 
measures to remedy a most terrific attack of col 
ic following unlimited indulgence in black cher 

Beany had been kicked by a stable horse a<nd 
was unable to do any work at home for several 
weeks, and still limped painfully when in sight 
of his house, although his disability was not 
particularly noticeable when sufficiently re 
moved from that vicinity. 

Pewt had been on a visit to relatives in Ports 
mouth, and the value of residential real estate 
in the neighborhood in which he lived had ap 
preciated perceptibly in his absence. 

But a great joy had dawned in Plupy s life. 
His father had bought a horse. Not in truth a 


very valuable animal, for she was a bit old and 
more than a bit sore-footed from contracted 
hoofs. But Nellie was a very handsome little 
horse, a dark bay with black points, very easy 
to ride and when warmed up, a fast trotter. 

Plupy was the most popular boy in the neigh 
borhood, not even excepting Ed Towle, whose 
father had a stable full of horses. 

Early in the morning he was at the stable, 
feeding, rubbing, washing, and polishing his 
horse and driving father to the station. Every 
noon he repeated the process and every night 
he drove again to the station and partook of 
the delirious excitement of a race down the 
street with the horses of other gentlemen re 
turning from the train. 

Between times he threw an old McLellan 
saddle and army blanket over her, which nearly 
concealed her from sight, and rode her. And as 
he was by no means a stingy youth, his friends 
stiffened themselves into suffering yard sticks in 
riding the little animal. If she had not been a 
Canadian and as tough as a voyageur, she 


Beany had been kicked 
by a stable horse 


would have died the first week. But she grew 
ambitious with good food, and several times 
had come home with Plupy despite his utmost 

As I remarked before, Plupy s father was an 
employee of the Government, and consequently 
a staunch upholder of the political party then in 
power. He held himself always in readiness to 
perform any service in reason that the party de 
manded, and being a gentleman of much tact 
and jollity, was a political henchman of consid 
erable power. 

He drew a very respectable salary for incon 
siderable duties at the Custom House, but was 
shrewdly working for a raise, as he calculated 
the increasing expenses of a growing family. So 
he was always extremely affable and painstaking 
in entertaining any prominent politician whose 
influence might be of assistance to him in perma 
nently retaining his place, or in gaining a new 
and better one. 

One Saturday evening he brought home a 
most distinguished looking gentleman, a politi- 


cian of some note, to stay over Sunday, and hav 
ing left him in his room, which had been hastily 
vacated and made guest chamber for the occa 
sion, the family was assembled in the kitchen 
and the law laid down as to their behavior, and 
the favorable impression they were to make on 
the visitor, who was represented as the one 
man in power who could procure a substantial 
raise in the salary of Plupy s father. 

He had no fears of Plupy s mother and aunt, 
for they were gentlewomen, but he was natural 
ly a bit uncertain about the behavior of his nu 
merous brood. However, they all promised with 
much zeal to be on their best behavior, and 
Plupy in particular made the most profuse 
promises, which he immediately put in execu 
tion by filling the wood-box and water-pail and 
spending the half hour before tea in cleaning 
out the stable, appearing at the tea table with 
his face soaped and scrubbed, his paper collar 
turned, and bearing with him so terrific a stench 
of the stable that he was sent from the room 
to change his clothes, which mortified him ex- 



On his return he was unfortunate enough to 
land his plate in his lap, and commit other little 
slips which made worse the unpleasant impres 
sion he must have created. 

After supper he harnessed Nellie and held 
her while his father and the gentleman climbed 
in to take a little ride around the town and 
visit a few of the faithful, in view of the coming 
national campaign. In his agitation over mis 
doings at the tea table he reversed the correct 
method, fastened the breeching straps first and 
then forgot to fasten the traces, leaving them 
coiled up, in front, and when his father, gather 
ing up the reins, nodded jovially to the smiling 
family gathered in the door yard to see them de 
part and touched Nellie with the whip, she went 
out of the shafts like a shot, dragging the as 
tonished and protesting owner over the dasher, 
and completely tied herself up in the straps, 
buckles and general wreckage before she was 

"Didn t I tell you more n a hundred times 


never to hitch the breeching first," roared the 
enraged father, shaking Plupy violently, "I m a 
good mind to skin you alive." 

k You ought to have been more careful," said 
his mother mildly but sorrowfully, as poor 
Plupy slunk into the house. 

It took some time to disentangle the snarl of 
horse, harness and buggy, but when it was ac 
complished, they drove off again, and after an 
hour s drive came home serene and peaceful, 
and smoking huge cigars, which they held tilted 
towards their hats, betokening promising polit 
ical aspirations. 

The evening was passed with music, in which 
the entire repertoire of the young ladies was ex 
hausted, and possibly also the patience of the 
guest. I have sometimes wondered just what 
the guests at Plupy s really did think of the 
musical part of the entertainment that was so 
freely dispensed there. 

The next day was Sunday and the family 
arose later than usual. Plupy was, however, 
early astir, and rubbed down the horse, washed 


the buggy and swept out the barn before his 
father had arisen. After breakfast, which 
passed without incident, the family prepared 
for church. Plupy s father, in view of the lim 
ited quarters provided in the family pew, gra 
ciously allowed Plupy to remain at home, great 
ly to that youngster s delight. 

There was occasionally some fun in church, 
for Beany occupied the important post of blow- 
boy for the organ, and whiled away the time 
when not occupied in keeping the bellows full, 
in various ways, one of which was in peeping 
from behind the organ and making hideous 
faces at Plupy, to the great scandal of other 
worshippers to whom he was visible, and to 
Plupy s unconcealed delight. 

But whenever Plupy s father went to church, 
which didn t happen very often, owing, as that 
gentleman said, to the exhaustion under which 
he labored, caused by the mental strain of his 
prostrating labors in the Custom House, Plupy 
had to be on his best behavior and did not dare 
to laugh at anything. 



Indeed, the last time he had attended church 
with his father, he had narrowly escaped pun 
ishment because he could not entirely restrain 
his laughter, when old Mr. Blake, who sat just 
in front of them, and who leaned forward to 
pick up his hymn-book which he had dropped, 
hit his bald head a most astounding and audible 
thump on the shelf in front of him, which 
caused him to pull a most rueful face and hold 
his head in both hands, while Plupy nearly 
strangled himself with suppressed glee. 

He wandered with deep satisfaction out into 
the yard. It was a warm day and the crickets 
and grasshoppers were filing their saws in the 
grass, the corn was waving in the breeze. In 
the barn a little speckled hen prated cheerfully, 
the cooing of his pigeons on the eaves sounded 
pleasantly in his ears. 

The bells had ceased ringing and in the dis 
tance the faint swell of the organ arose and the 
distant cadence of a hymn. After all the 
world was a pretty good place to live in. Let s 
see, what would he do to-morrow? First he 


would go over and see if Potter Gorham would 
go bull-frogging with him. And if he wouldn t 
go, he would go down to Fatty Melcher s. Fat 
ty was most as good a fisher as Potter. Only 
Potter knew more about fish and birds than any 
fellow. He wished he had some of Potter s 
books on birds and things. He guessed he would 
read the rest of "Midshipman Easy," and hav 
ing procured that delightful tale, he lay on the 
grass and was only aroused from oblivion to 
everything but the fascination of his book, by 
the arrival of the guest and the family from 

After dinner Plupy s father was called away, 
and, again to Plupy s delight, ordered him to 
harness Nellie and take the guest to Hampton 
Falls to make a call on a friend. 

Plupy blithely did as he was bidden, and 
deferentially waiting until the gentleman ad 
justed his gloves, settled his silk hat firmly on 
his bald head and lighted his cigar, he climbed 
into the buggy and fared him forth gaily. 

The politician, accustomed to travel in a 


rather fast class, began to chaff the boy a little 
about his horse, and intimated considerable dis 
trust of her ability to trot fast. Naturally, to a 
boy of Plupy s disposition, this was a direct in 
vitation to let her out a little, which he did. The 
gentleman took occasion to take out the whip 
and, to Plupy s great but silent indignation, to 
strike her with it. It was as much as Plupy 
could do to turn her into the yard of the house 
they were to visit without upsetting. 

During their stop at this house one of those 
sudden showers came up that left the roads 
soaked with water and deep in mud, and when 
they started for home, the little mare, still 
smarting over her treatment, struck for home 
like a bird, sending showers of mud over the 
wretched and indignant guest and the straining 

In vain he pulled, he could not stop her. She 
had an iron mouth and was bound to get home 
as soon as possible. The politician started to 
expostulate, but a handful of mud thrown by 
her forefoot plastered his mouth, breathing ob- 


jurgations. A violent jolt caused him to grab 
frantically for his hat, which he secured just in 
time. The whirling wheels cast aloft showers 
of yellow mud which sought a resting place on 
his dignified person. They whirled around a 
corner on two wheels, and he grasped the seat 
with both hands. Another dash of mud sealed 
one eye, while a shower of gravel stones rattled 
against his false teeth and paralyzed his fervid 

They dashed over the bridge, up Clifford 
street, around the corner, a narrow squeak. 
Plupy was a skillful driver. Another might not 
have done it. Into the yard, Plupy putting 
forth all the strength of his half paralyzed, 
skinny arms sawing violently. The little mare 
dashed for the barn door, luckily it was shut. 
She stopped. The passengers kept right on. 
Both went over the dasher flying. Plupy went 
farthest although braced for the shock. The 
politician found himself astride the animal s 
rump, both arms embracing her. Nellie did not 
kick. She was a kind horse, and had reached 


home. The politician dismounted painfully. 

He was speechless with indignation. Plupy s 
mother came out. So did his aunt. So did his 
brothers and sisters. The latter retired to hide 
their mirth, taking with them the loudly won 
dering little ones. The former persuaded the 
politician to enter the house and offered him 
warm water, soap and towels. He fumed and 
said impolite things. 

Plupy s mother was a wise woman. So was 
his aunt. They said nothing. The politician 
finally consented to retire to his room. He could 
not have done otherwise. He was a sight. He 
poked his clothes outside his room. They were 
taken and scraped, dried and dusted, while 
Plupy told his story. 

At about six o clock his father returned, and 
was astonished beyond measure to see his wife 
breaking the Sabbath for the first time in her 
life, by bending over the ironing-board smooth 
ing out the wrinkles in a long-tailed black broad 
cloth coat, while Aunt Sarah with a rabbit s 
foot was trying to restore the gloss to a dam- 









aged silk hat. 

The worthy gentleman was much cast down 
when he learned of the excitement attending the 
John Gilpin-like ride of his son and guest, and 
he was disposed to use harsh language before 
hearing the whole story, but as he listened his 
indignation sought a new channel, and only the 
entreaties of his wife prevented him from de 
manding an explanation of his guest. So he 
swallowed his wrath and when his guest reap 
peared greeted him with cordiality. But the 
evening meal was eaten under some constraint, 
and at its close the guest retired to his room, 
saying he was greatly fatigued by the unusual 
attentions he had received. 

The next morning, after a tempting break 
fast, Plupy s father and the guest rode to the 
depot in a hack, as it was thought that the ap 
pearance of the family conveyance might awak 
en painful associations in the mind of the great 
man. Plupy s father exerted himself to be af 
fable and courteous to his guest, but that gentle 
man appeared to be wrapped in an impenetrable 


cloud of gloom. 

As the train pulled in he turned to his host 
and said with a disagreeable sneer, "Shute, if 
that infernal boy of yours was mine, I d drown 

Now Plupy s father, however strongly he 
might at times express himself about his son s 
misdeeds, never allowed anyone else to do the 
same, and would fight at the drop of the hat 
when any person criticised any member of his 
family, and he came to the scratch with a 
promptness quite unexpected by his guest. 

"And if he didn t amount to more than you 
have, you infernal blockhead, I d hang him be 
fore night!" he replied fiercely. 

u Do you know who you are talking to?" de 
manded the great man, purple with rage. 

"A cheap bar-room politician" roared the 
elder Shute, "and for two cents, sir," he shouted 
snapping his fingers under the great man s nose, 
who backed precipitately away, "I would smash 
that old plug of yours over your empty old 


"For two cents" roared the 
Elder Shute, "I would smash 
that old plug of yours" 


There was no time to say more, the train was 
getting under way, and they rushed for different 

That night when Plupy s father returned he 
delighted his son by the present of a twenty-five 
cent scrip. 

His salary had not been raised, but the fam 
ily honor had been vindicated. 



How Plupy, Beany, Pewt, Fatty, Tomtit, Whack, Bug, 
Puzzy, Skinny, Billy, Parson, Scotty, and others became 
nigger minstrels. 

AND now misfortune, which appeared 
to have visited our good friend 
Plupy, rather more frequently than 
that good gentleman could have 
wished, wisely considering its wel 
come worn out, went on its way to make life 
miserable for some other boys, and Plupy for a 
time, at least, enjoyed a comparative immunity 
from sorrow. 

This was such an unusual thing for him that 
he did not quite know just how to account for 
it. Not to be scolded for forgetting to split the 
kindlings or fill the wood-box or waterpail; not 
to be reproved by his scornfully superior sisters 
for occasionally appearing at the table with 
grimy hands or face or uncombed hair, or for 
eating some particularly savory or evasive mor- 



sel with his knife, because it did not adapt itself 
readily to the tines of his fork; not to be made 
to weed the gravel walk when he wanted to go 
"in swimming;" to fetch water from the river 
for the Monday s wash when he had planned a 
little fishing excursion; to run up to old Mrs. 
Elliott s for two cents worth of yeast when he 
had obtained permission to ride on one of Ma 
jor Blake s hacks; all these unusual exemptions 
delighted him beyond measure. 

He had also added to his cornet fund the 
twenty-five cents presented him by his father, 
which made good the recent depletion of that 
fund caused by his breaking the window in the 
blacksmith s shop. In short, the world moved 
prosperously for him, and had it not been that 
the long vacation was drawing to a close, he 
would have been almost too happy to contain 

True, he sometimes wondered how long this 
blissful state of things would continue, and oc 
casionally was conscious of a vague lack in his 
well-being, due to his unusual exemption from 



verbal reproach, bodily castigation, or banish 
ment to his room, just as one misses salt or pep 
per in a dish benefited by a moderate admixture 
of these articles. 

I can only explain this unexampled period of 
Plupy s life by the supposition that it was owing 
in a great measure to a period of good behavior 
on the part of that young man, a period which 
occasionally comes in the life of every bad, or 
moderately sinful youth, and which seems to 
paint in blacker colors the ordinary course of 
life of that individual. 

Whatever may have been the cause, it is a 
fact that once, and from a very intimate ac 
quaintance with Plupy I can say once only, in 
his life he went a full week without some sort 
of punishment being meted out to him for mis 
demeanors of which he was guilty. 

However, this state of things could not last 
very long, as being good was somewhat foreign 
to his nature. Then again, Pewt had returned 
from his visit to Portsmouth, Beany had entire 
ly recovered from his accident, and Fatty Gil- 


man was enlisting the services of his friends in 
preparations for a grand Nigger Minstrel Show 
in his barn, modelled after Morris Brothers 
Minstrels and Washburn s Grand Sensation, 
the two most popular travelling pageants of 
those days. 

Of course, every boy, who had opportunity 
to take part in any sort of a show in another 
boy s barn, would be willing to risk life, liberty 
and the pursuit of happiness to attain the posi 
tion of End Man, Interlocutor, Premiere Dan- 
seuse or Trapeze Artist. Even the less import 
ant positions of member of the chorus, door-ten 
der and taker-of-tickets were prizes that excited 
the warmest competition. Anything to be a 
part of the show. Plupy was at once reduced to 
his usual condition of plain everyday boy, and 
his goodness fell from him as mist fades in sun 
shine. He hurried through his tasks in the 
morning, at noon, and at night, at least before 
his father returned from Boston. He was a 
prudent youth and generally made amends for 
his neglect during the day, by filling the wood- 


box to overflowing just before the hack drew up 
to the door, and so arranged his affairs that 
when his father called for him he appeared 
cheerfully, with one arm extended to balance his 
attenuated frame bending under the weight of a 
pail of water, with which he plentifully be- 
slopped his trousers and shoes. 

I hope the reader will forgive our friend for 
these hypocrisies. We are all too apt to do 
such in our mature years, to criticise him too 
severely. Remember what an absorbing pas 
time preparation for a nigger minstrel show is 
for a boy of thirteen, especially when the varied 
attractions include a "Grand Street Parade with 
Monster Brass Band, and the Entire Strength 
of the Company." 

We may be very sure that his mother and 
aunt saw only too clearly through the young 
scamp s pretentions, and in their abundant good 
nature and affection for him, rather sympa 
thized with him, and kept many things from the 
ears of his father, that could have been told 
that gentleman with perfect propriety. 


The first meeting for the arrangement of the 
details was held behind Fatty Oilman s barn, 
the interesting nature of the proceeding being 
intensified by a half bushel of "Early Astra- 
chan" apples furnished by the Chadwick boys. 
Fatty presided with great dignity astride a 
wooden bench-horse which broke under his 
weight and let him down with a violent thump 
on the back of his head, and temporarily de 
layed proceedings. 

When he recovered he proceeded to harangue 
the assemblage with great vigor and conciseness 
somewhat as follows "Fellers, me n Tomtit n 
Parson has been thinking of gettin up a nigger 
show, a real bully one, so t all the fellers which 
can do ennything better n nobody else has got 
to do it. I m goin to be interlocutioner, n 

"Huh, Old Fatty," said Bug Chadwick, dis 
gustedly, "course you got the best part, cause 
it s your barn." 

"Well, what f I have?" demanded the fat 
youth with asperity, "you ain t big enough to be 



in the center, an I ve got you down for a prize 
fight," he added convincingly, whereat Bug 
smiled forgivingly. 

"Gosh, goin to have a prize fight?" de 
manded Puzzy, delightedly, "I m the feller to 
fight Bug," leering in a way that promised warm 
times for his brother, who rose and sparred in 
pantomine in an immensely scientific way. 

" N Billy Swett n Skinny Bruce is end men, 
cause Billy has got a tamberine and Skinny has 
got the best bone clappers in town. And he 
can play m too," he added with emphasis. 
"Whack s going to sing a song, Shoo Fly Don t 
Bodder Me! " 

"Aw, Whack can t sing any more n a cat, all 
he does is jest yawp," jeered Puz and Bug, 
whereupon the dignified Whack became indig 
nant and intimated an ability and willingness to 
knock somebody s nose off, and further speci 
fied the exact time in which the same could be 
done, which he calculated to be "in about two 

"Oh, shet up fellers, we ll never get doin 


anything if we keep a jawin . Whack s goin t 
sing, n that s all there is bout it, else they won t 
be no show." 

"I ll be on the flying trapeze," said Pewt. 

"I can skin the cat on the horizontal bar," 
shrieked Beany. 

"Huh, that ain t nothin , I can do the muscle 
grind," said Skinny Bruce, "and I can walk on 
my hands." 

"I can stand on my head the longest and eat 
juju pastes," bellowed Beany, not to be outdone 
by his compatriots. 

"Tel yer what," chirped in Plupy, the musi 
cal, struck with a bright idea, "less have a regu 
lar street parade. I ll play cornet in the band. 
I got a tin tunnel." 

"Me too," said Pewt. 

"I got a drum," said Tomtit. 

"Fatty Walker will let me have his bass 
drum, p raps," said Fatty, "he is striping some 
carriages for mother, I ll get her to ask him." 

"Bully," said all in chorus. 

"What we goin to sing for choruses?" in- 



quired Plupy. 

" Rally Round the Flag; n Hurrah for 
Old New England, n tunes like them," said 

"Who s got some black cork?" inquired 

"Charcoal is jest as good and you don t have 
to burn it. We got lots of charcoal in the cel 
lar," said Fatty. 

"I druther have black cork," demurred Billy 
Swett, "you can get a more niggery black." 

"They ain t nothin much blacker n charcoal, 
if you put on enough." 

"Which gets off the easiest?" queried Parson, 
who was rather more particular about his per 
sonal appearance. 

"Neither," said Pewt. "You can scrub most 
of it off your cheeks and forehead, but you can t 
get it out of your ears till most winter. Most 
all comes off your neck in two weeks if you use 
enough soft soap." 

So it was voted to use charcoal instead of 
burnt cork, and the details of a most astonishing 


show were outlined amid much confusion of 
tongue and ideas, but in great harmony. It 
was further voted to invite Scotty Brigham, 
Tady Finton and Jim Early, as these three 
youths were towers of strength in case of trou 
ble on the line of march with other town boys 
not fortunate enough to belong to the organiza 
tion, and besides Scotty could sing like a sky 
lark and play a real bugle, and Jim Early could 
turn a front somersault every time and a back 
one once in a while without landing on his head. 

The greater part of the next day was taken 
up in preparing the stage, which was set up in 
one end of the broad aisle between the hay bays 
and the tie-ups. As many wooden horses as the 
boys could get were covered with boards taken 
from a dismantled hen house and were secured 
by nails to cross pieces, and a good-sized stage 
was made. 

The curtain was an old carpet hung from a 

clothesline stretched across the uprights, and a 

sail cloth stretched in front of one of the bays 

made a most excellent dressing or green room 



for the performers. The erection of the stage 
was not accomplished without serious mishaps. 
Plupy jammed off the greater part of a thumb 
nail by having a board nailed down while one of 
his thumbs was on the under side of it; and 
Beany, while striking a mighty blow with a 
loose-headed hammer, nearly massacred Fatty, 
who received the hammer head full in his pro 
tuberant stomach, as it shot away from the 

But at last it was finished and several days 
were taken up with rehearsals, both of band and 
stage performers. 

Even at home faithful performers rehearsed 
until their parents lives were a burden to them. 
Whack committed and recommitted the lines of 
his song to memory and droned horridly at the 
tune, while Bug and Puzzy fought so desperate 
ly and continuously in preparation for their act 
that their mother was forced to keep them in 
separate rooms, when at home. 

The day of the show arrived and Fatty s 
yard in front of the barn was filled with a motley 


throng of boys and girls awaiting the. .perform 
ers, who were preparing for the grand parade. 


The "Fall of Babylon", due to Fatty s performance and 
the presence of uninvited guests. 

SUDDENLY, the small door was 
opened and the performers came 
forth, a set of jet-black, coal-black, 
raven-black little gamins, gorgeously 
apparelled. The band wore red 
stripes on their yellow linen trousers, red 
worsted epaulettes on their shoulders, gold pa 
per stripes on the breasts of their jackets and 
enormous paper shakos of red and blue. 

The procession is formed. It starts. Fatty 
leads off fairly blazing with gold paper. After 
him comes the band, Plupy shrieking awfully 
through his tin tunnel; Parson, Bug and Pewt 
shrillingly piping through wooden whistles; 
Scotty Brigham blowing mellow bugle calls; 
Billy Swett shaking his tambourine ; Tomtit rat 
tling his side drum, while Tady Finton and Jim 



Early vie with one another in administering 
sounding welts on the bass drum and clanging 
blows upon two tin pot covers, which did duty as 

Behind the band comes the rest of the com 
pany, marching in open order, bearing canes, 
clad in stove pipe hats of various styles and 
shapes, which rest mainly on their ears and 
shoulders. They are followed by a crowd of 
boys and girls. 

The line of march leads down Front street 
to the Square, where they are to countermarch 
and return to their hall. It is at the Square 
that the sound judgment of the company in in 
viting Tady, Jim and Scotty was shown as the 
procession is halted while Scotty administers 
a sound thrashing to Squawboo Bowley, who 
with others disputes the right of way, and seeks 
to break up the procession. The proceedings 
are further enlivened by a most interesting set- 
to between Tady and Hiram Mingo, a real col 
ored boy, and the flight of the latter, who is 
pursued by Tady clear to "Nigger Hill." 


When these little preliminaries have been ad 
justed, the procession is re-formed and with 
joyous music returns to the hall, where the 
public are admitted for the inconsiderable sum 
of one cent each, and rapidly fill the seats. 
The currency they offer would, perhaps, not 
pass the critical eyes of a bank cashier; but 
anything bearing outward similitude to a cent 
is accepted by the door-keeper, our friend Plupy, 
who is certainly not a financier whatever else 
he may be. 

And now, in response to the stamping, clap 
ping and cat-calls of an impatient audience the 
curtain goes up and displays to the dazzled eyes 
the circle of performers; Fatty in the middle, 
dignified and protuberant; Skinny and Billy 
Swett with arms raised and leaning outwards, 
the others attentive and ready. Fatty rises; he 
speaks: "Ladies and gentlemen, overture, Lit 
tle Maggie May ." The instruments shriek and 
clash and blare, the chorus roar at the top of 
their voices, Skinny s hands are in such rapid 
motion that they are a black mist. Billy Swett 



raps the tambourine on his head, knee, elbow, 
hand, and foot; the audience shriek with laugh 
ter; the overture closes with a crescendo of 
sound. The applause is terrific. 

Again Fatty rises and proclaims, "Song, 
Shoo Fly, Doan Bodder Me, by Brudder Sam- 
well Possum," and Whacker stalks forth and 
essays to render the little, madrigal once so pop 
ular. His intonation is hideous, but gratifying 
to the audience, who manifest their joy by loud 
yells of applause. 

Next Fatty announces, "Clog dance by me," 
greatly to the surprise of all, both audience and 
performers, who did not know that Fatty had 
been secretly practising grotesque steps for a 
week past. 

He comes forward, strikes a posture and 
then breaks into a grotesque dance; he stamps 
his feet violently on the stage ; kicks, jumps, and 
whirls around, leaps into the air and comes 
down like an elephant; the audience is wild with 
delight; he does it again; there is a crash of rot 
ten boards and Fatty disappears to his armpits, 



where he sticks, struggles, and bellows for as 

The performers rush to his aid ; the audience 
rise en masse, are waved back and the curtain 
goes down. Behind the curtain there is a sound 
of shrill and excited orders. u Look out, fellers, 
the whole thing will go down. Some of you 
fellers get under the stage and push. Who yer 
steppin on? Now then are ye all ready? Yes, 
now all together," loud grunting, sk-r-r-rip, 
"Hold on fellers, I m caught on a nail, don t ye 
know nothin ! pull out the nail no that ain t 
the one the big one, hurry up, can t yer, we 
can t hold him all night, now then," more 
grunting, "all right." 

Then was heard Fatty s voice lamenting, 
"Jest look at them britches, most ripped off me. 
F I go into th house for another pair mother 
won t let me come out again." 

"Less pin it up, got any pins?" suggested a 

"I got some, n I, me to," chimed in others. 
Silence for a moment broken by an agonized 


wail from Fatty. 

u Ow, Ow, Ouch! you rs jabbing that pin into 
me most a foot. Whatcher think I am, a pin 

Prolonged giggles, "You look like one," an 
swered a voice. 

Irate language from Fatty. 

Then calls for boards and nails, the sound of 
rending wood, pounding hammers, and com 
plaining saws, broken occasionally by a smoth 
ered yelp of shrill protest as some unfortunate 
performer pounded or sawed some part of his 
person, or got in the way of vigorously handled 

Then cries of "all right," silence for the im 
pressive arrival of the orchestra from the flies, 
and their arrangement before the curtain, a 
crash of raucous music and the curtain slowly 
rolled up part way, and then stuck. Shrill or 
ders of "Whatcher doin , Plupy, why doncher 
pull?" were heard above the din of music, and 
the curtain went up rather unsteadily, disclosing 
a trapeze and horizontal bar. 

Skinny Bruce springs for the 
trapeze and misses it 


Enter Skinny Bruce, walking on his hands. 
He rights himself, springs for the trapeze, 
misses it; springs again, catches it by the tip of 
the fingers of one hand, which hold just long 
enough to cast him off his balance and he falls 
on his back with a prodigious slam and a cloud 
of dust. He rises, calls for a box, which is 
brought by Beany, and he climbs from it to the 

Skinny swings his legs violently and finally 
casts one over the bar. More violent contor 
tions and he straddles it, and pulls himself, aid 
ed mainly by his bulging eyes and facial contor 
tions, on the bar, from which he complacently 
views the audience. 

Then he throws himself from the bar and 
hangs by his bent knees and makes horrid faces 
at the delighted audience, with his countenance 
upside down. Then he climbs up himself until 
he can grasp the bar, when he gyrates violently 
until he rights himself. Then he drops to the 
stage, gracefully waves his hand and retires 
swollen with pride at the plaudits of the au- 


dience, who voice the universal sentiment that 
"Skinny done well." 

Next Beany appears, grinning with delight, 
and stands on his head and assays to eat some 
jujube paste while in that position. His first 
inversion is successful, but as the back of his 
head is towards the orchestra chairs and the 
family circle, his mouth is concealed from the 
audience, who loudly clamor for him to face 
around so they can see him. This rather hand 
icaps Beany, who has been standing on his 
head for a full minute and his plump counte 
nance is surcharged with blood until he looks 
but for the black cork, like a ripe strawberry. 

Again he elevates himself and begins to chew 
violently. His face swells like a balloon, he 
vainly tries to swallow, chokes, his eyes roll 
he gurgles and falls over and lies prone and in 

The audience remains spell-bound, fearing 
that Beany has indeed passed peacefully from 
the world of sorrow. But their fears are un 
founded. Gradually, the swelling diminishes, 


his eyes regain their pupils, and he rises and 
opens his mouth cavernously to show that the 
choice morsel has departed in the usual direc 

Then indeed the applause becomes terrific, 
both at his skill as well as his seemingly marvel 
ous escape from death, and he is hailed as the 
"Human Boa Constricter" by his admiring 

Next a square is roped off with twine and in 
a trice appear Bug and Puzzy, with jackets 
off, braces around their waist, and huge boxing 
gloves on their "Mawleys." Skinny Bruce acts 
for Bug, Billy Swett for Puzzy, while Fatty 
the omnipresent acts as referee and time keeper. 

Time is called and the warriors spring for 
each other as if actuated by powerful springs. 
Their arms swing like windmills, puffy, punky 
blows fall like pillows in a pillow fight. They 
clinch and are separated by the referee. Again 
they go at it like insane jumping jacks. The 
audience rises to its feet as a man and cheers. 
"Time" called Fatty, and the first round closes. 


While the boxers are being fanned and 
rubbed the betting is very brisk, and the next 
round begins in a very scientific manner, both 
boxers dodging all over the stage. Finally Puz- 
zy rushes, but is led a dance by Bug, who lands 
a deft blow on Puzzy s forehead that is ac 
knowledged by those of the audience skilled in 
the art as a "paister." Puzzy s eyes light up 
with a warlike gleam. A second later Bug skips 
forward and meets a wild lunge of Puzzy s that 
catches him off his balance and sends him spin 
ning into the orchestra, upsetting several musi 
cians and crushing Plupy s tin tunnel flat. 

Bug is back in the ring like a cork, tears off 
his gloves and squares off with his hard little 
fists. Puzzy divests himself of his pillows and 
spars for an opening. The crowd arises again 
in breathless interest, but are plainly disgusted 
when Fatty promptly stops the bout and dis 
qualifies both men for "Vilating the rules." 

"All bets is off," said the referee, and the 
sporting men look sulky. 

Next Jim Early comes forward and turned 


his somersaults with great success, but fails ut 
terly in the back ones, except that he succeeds in 
striking his head with fearful violence on the 
stage, which would infallibly have killed or dis 
abled for life any other boy, but which only in 
duces in him a temporary confusion of ideas. 

Now the delays inseparable to an amateur 
performance and the unexpected breakdown of 
the stage had prolonged the entertainment to 
the milking hour, and a dozen or more cows, be 
longing to the fine herd owned by Fatty s moth 
er, at this juncture return to the barn led by old 
"Speckled Face." Finding the side door of the 
barn closed they rush round to the big door, 
which is open. Their calves are awaiting them, 
also their grain , and for both reasons they are 
in a hurry. But they stop in amazement as they 
behold the throng in the barn. Even Speckled 
Face, the intrepid, pauses in doubt, but the 
bla-a-t of her hungry calf decides her. The 
entrance to the tie-up is half way up the barn. 
She shakes her head and advances threaten 
ingly. Others follow, urged by the impatient 


horns of the hindmost and the loud shouts of 
"Haw! Hi thar! W heish!" of sturdy Pat Gil- 
roy, who was unaware of what was transpiring 
in the barn. 

At once confusion reigns, the girls shriek 
and rush for the stage, the bays and other hid 
ing places. One young lady climbs so high on 
a ladder that she does not dare to come down 
until she is helped down by the assistance of the 
entire crowd. The boys also recoil from the 
avalanche of horns and hoofs. The over 
weighted stage rocks and reels, a bending crack 
le becomes a thunderous crash as the stage 
gives way, precipitating actors, artists, supes, 
orchestra, band and audience in one dusty tan 
gled heap. 

And when the amazed Pat Gilroy pauses 
open-mouthed on the threshold, the throng are 
painfully disentangling themselves, while in the 
tie-up the mild-eyed cows are licking their calves 
affectionately, while far aloft, whimpering with 
fright, a pallid young lady clings to the rounds 
of a ladder. 



The strong arm of the law reaches for Plupy s collar and 
gets a strangle hold. 

AND now indeed I grieve to say that 
Plupy began to go to the bad very 
rapidly. It would be unjust to 
Pewt to say that it was due to his 
return from his vacation, because 
if I recollect rightly, Pewt s mother always con 
tended, and perhaps with much truth, that her 
son would have been an excellent boy, had it 
not been for that Shute boy, who led him into 
devious ways. 

Nor would it be fair to Beany to attribute 
Plupy s moral lapses to his recovery from his 
lameness, because the fact that Plupy never 
dared to visit Beany s premises except in the ab 
sence of Beany s father, was some evidence that 
his moral influence was not conducive to Beany s 
good standing in the community. 


Nor would it be entirely correct to heap all 
the blame on poor Plupy, for he was not, I as 
sure you, entirely to blame. It would perhaps 
be better to say it was due to the fact that the 
three lived in the same neighborhood, and spent 
a good deal of time in each other s society. I 
am willing to acknowledge that Plupy was more 
to blame than the rest, for I am his friend and 
can speak for him. But the others were not 
without fault. 

During the short evenings of summer the 
boys had but little time to play after dark. Bed 
time came soon after the lamps were lighted. 
But as fall approached, the evenings became 
longer, the boys began to play after dark, and 
the opportunity of doing, under the cover of 
darkness, forbidden things, led them to decided 

It was unquestionably funny when upon the 
sharp peal of a door bell, an irate and bald- 
headed man appeared with a lamp and swore 
violently when he heard the clatter of the boys 
feet as they ran off. It was not so funny when 


they were occasionally caught and soundly 
thrashed, and which served them right. Nor 
was it at all funny when some poor tired wo 
man, who had been all day on her feet, came to 
the door and peered about wondering who 
would have the heart to compel her to take 
another step. 

To do the boys justice, they seldom knowing 
ly bothered the women, but generally picked out 
the most irascible old man in the neighborhood 
just for the purpose of hearing him curse and 
"ramp round" as Plupy termed it. 

Then they began to "hook apples", as it was 
then called, and is now I believe. What their 
object was, I cannot say. They did not want 
the apples, for they had enough in their own 
yards. But the excursion, the whispered direc 
tions, the darkness and the decided spice of dan 
ger had a fascination for them that they did not 
resist. That it was stealing pure and simple 
they knew, but like so many others, they con 
sidered that the offense consisted mainly in de 
tection, an opinion or excuse that has lured 



many an older man to his ruin. 

If boys could only understand the difference 
between innocent fun and wanton, unnecessary 
and malicious horse-play, a vast improvement in 
our young people would be assured, and I cer 
tainly believe they would gain more real fun 
and genuine enjoyment out of life. 

The passageway from thoughtless mischief 
to wanton misdemeanor is short, easy, and 
downhill all the way, and there is another pas 
sageway beyond equally steep and slippery. 

"Facilis decensus Averni, 
Sed revocare gradum, hie labor, hoc opus est" 

has been a hackneyed maxim for centuries, but 
a mighty true one. Forgive me, boys, for mak 
ing you read latin out of school. You have 
enough of it there without doubt; but when you 
come to this passage, commit it to memory and 
think of it occasionally. 

Now Plupy, Beany and Pewt had never 
heard of this maxim and would not have heeded 
it if they had, I am afraid, and so they got on 


the downward path and slipped faster than 
they really had any idea, and from "hooking 
apples" passed to tying up wagon wheels, and 
from ringing door bells to breaking windows. 

Down on Newmarket road near the salt 
marshes and mud flats dwelt old Hannah Blos 
som, a colored woman with a face as round as 
a football, a body as round as a tub and a voice 
that could be heard a mile with the wind. What 
her real name was nobody ever knew. How 
old she was or how long she had lived in the 
little one-roomed shanty or where she came 
from were facts equally unknown. Nor did the 
good people of Exeter care particularly. She 
filled a certain niche in the economy of the town 
as an energetic and competent washerwoman, 
and that was all they cared about it. 

Her face and figure indicated great jollity 
and good nature, and in her ordinary associa 
tions with the townspeople she was the personifi 
cation of goodnature. But she detested boys, and 
with good reason, for the boys of Exeter had 
been the plague of her life. She kept geese, and 


the boys chased them in boats whenever oppor 
tunity offered, so that they lived the hunted life 
of wild animals. She kept hens and chickens, 
which disappeared mysteriously from their 
roosts, and as in the history of "Griselda 

"Familiar-looking bones were found 
That set her own a quaking" 

But the meanest and most exasperating trick 
of all was throwing clay-balls at her line of 
freshly washed clothes. At such times her pow 
er of vituperation approached the limits of the 
sublime. In spite of her size and weight she 
was very active and on several occasions she 
had laid in wait for depredators, sprung upon 
them from ambush, and thrashed them so 
soundly with her clothes-stick that they never 
dared pass her premises on the same side of the 
street again until they grew up. At such times 
she voiced a strident and high-pitched warning 
with every blow of her flat bat, which, with the 
yells of the sufferer, made quite a Wagnerian 


symphony, which was greatly appreciated by 
the entire neighborhood. A few bars of this 
symphony may not come amiss. 

"Larn yo , yo po wite trash, bat, oo-hoo- 
ouch, to brack a po cul d ooman s washin , 
shake-bat, wear yo to a frazzle, shake-bat- 
slam, -ow-ooee-murder-chase ma geese will yo , 
bat-bat,-lemme be,-I ll never,-bat-slam-shake,- 
take that, yo imp o Satan, f I cotch yo roun 
heah agin I ll kill ye dead for sho." 

It was safe to say that no boy, who ever went 
through an interview of this kind with the irate 
old lady, ever took any chances of again coming 
in for a dose of her particularly effective discip 
line, and in this way she wielded a tremendous 
influence for good in the community, and took 
upon herself the guidance and catch-as-catch-can 
discipline of those tough youths who did not get 
a proper amount of it at home. 

She hated boys and no wonder, and at the ap 
proach of a street Arab, the whites of her rolling 
eyes showed like those of a vicious broncho. 
Her combativeness had also led her into colli- 


sion with the selectmen of the town, for she 
was a squatter on the town s property and 
maintained her position by the strength of her 
good right arm and the vigor and extent of her 
vocabulary. Moreover she had added greatly 
to her land-holdings by accretion. 

That is, she had encouraged people who 
wished to get rid of their ashes, tin cans, and 
other rubbish to dump the same on the water 
side of her lot, and with her own hands had 
covered the dump with loam and had quite a 
flourishing garden, which she fenced in with a 
homemade fence of remarkable pattern. To 
prevent her from acquiring title by continued 
possession, one of the selectmen occasionally 
with force removed part of the fence, put up a 
notice and fled for his life, pursued by the en 
raged old lady, who at once repaired her fence, 
burned the notice and waddled up to Judge 
Stickney s house to lodge complaint and com 
mence an action for trespass vi et armis, which 
complaint was never entered in court, however, 
the good natured old attorney knowing only too 


well the slight claim she had to the premises. 

Thus, her entire existence was spent in war 
fare with the boys and local authorities and in 
daily struggles with enormous piles of soiled 
linen, and she lived the life of an honest, 
spunky, well-meaning and kind-hearted old 
warrior, who would return kindness for kind 
ness, or evil for evil with equal readiness. 

Now Plupy, Beany and Pewt, having in a 
measure exhausted the excitement of their im 
mediate neighborhood, branched out for pas 
tures new. As they were fishing one day on the 
flats at the mouth of Kimmin s brook for torn- 
cod, they ran across the old lady s geese, which 
came swimming down the shallow brook, and 
seeing the boys, recoiled with sibilant hisses and 
strident honking screeches. 

This was enough for the boys, and, rolling 
their trousers above their knees, they began the 
chase. Pewt made a detour and got beyond 
them and then with yells and shouts drove them 
shrieking and flapping down stream, where they 
were headed off by Plupy with much splashing 



with his fish pole. Back they went, passing 
Beany midway with wings outspread, paddles 
working and necks outstretched, while a wake 
of foam and spray was stirred up by their rapid 

It was glorious fun, and the boys ran and 
shouted, fell down and daubed themselves with 
mud and drenched themselves with water. 

All at once a harsh, high-pitched voice split 
the air with denunciations. 

"Yo boys yo, I knows yo, yo Skinny Bruce 
yo, yo Tady Finton yo, yo Scotty Brigham yo. 
I se gwine tell the pleesmans for sho. I knows 
yo, yo imps o satan." 

The boys stopped, grinned, and then, secure 
in her mistaken identification, continued their 
sport. They knew the old lady couldn t catch 
them, and they felt sure that Skinny, Tady 
and Scotty would easily prove an alibi if com 
plaint was made against them. So up and 
down the stream went their hissing victims, 
while old Hannah, from her post of observation 
on the bank, vainly called down the wrath of 


heaven on the miscreants. 

But the boys carried the affair further than 
they intended, for suddenly one old fat goose 
stretched its long neck, half opened its wings, 
shivered, trembled, gasped, and then the eyes 
glazed, the head fell forward and it lay quiet. 
The boys stopped and stared, they had never 
imagined anything could kill a goose. They 
looked at each other in dismay. "Gosh," said 
Plupy, "it s dead, less get out of this." 

"I guess not, boys," said a loud voice and, 
turning in terror, they saw within a few feet of 
them the huge figure of Charles Lane, a burly 
blacksmith, who lived on the bank of the river, 
and who had been gunning on the marshes, as 
his hip boots and gun indicated. He had been 
attracted by the shouts of the boys and the cries 
of old Hannah, and under cover of their ab 
sorption had walked to within a few feet of 
them, and had witnessed the demise of the old 

"Now, you boys don t want to think about 
runnin ," he drawled, "for this gun s loaded 


with birdshot and shot ll travel a little faster n 
you can. So git yer clothes n fish poles, n that 
dead goose n we ll go over ter ole Hannah s ri 
I ll stan round while she tans the hide off n yer 
wi her clothes stick. Start now," he added 

The crestfallen miscreants obeyed, gathered 
up their property, waded out and picked up the 
goose, and started for the shanty, followed by 
their captor, who carefully and ostentatiously 
examined the caps of his gun and tried the ham- 

When they arrived there, the rage of old 
Hannah knew no bounds. It was a case for 
the police court; it wasn t a case for thrashing. 
In vain the boys begged that she let them off 
with a thrashing, she was adamant. And so in 
a few minutes a procession headed by the wad 
dling old lady, who was followed by three 
abashed and downcast boys, by the black, 
smith with his shot-gun, to which depended the 
slain goose, was on the way to Justice Bell s 



The old lady looked the personification of ac 
cusing wrath ; the boys the image of guilt ; and 
the blacksmith stern and forbidding, although 
there was an amused twinkle in his eye, as the 
populace hailed the procession with delight, and 
the juvenile portion brought up the rear in large 

They arrived at the office of the justice. That 
terrifying presence was there enthroned behind 
a large desk. He looked up, and his deep-set 
eyes pierced the boys to their very souls. They 
were guilty, guilty beyond a doubt. Just what 
technical offence they were guilty of, they did 
not know. They had occasionally with bated 
breath and bulging eyes stolen into police court 
and listened to trials, but that they should ever 
be there as convicted criminals, they had never 
dreamed. Visions of brawl and tumult, assault 
and battery, malicious mischief, cruelty to ani 
mals, breaking the peace and other heinous of 
fences swam before them and their heads 
dropped lower and lower. They were guilty, 
they looked it, and in front of them with out- 


stretched hand, stood their accuser, the ebony 
goddess of vengeance. The door closed on the 

public and is closed to us. 


An hour passed. To those outside nothing 
had been heard but the murmur of voices, now 
high, now low, now strident and accusing, now 
pleading and tearful. Then the door opened 
and the old lady appeared. She was smiling, 
she had the jaunty air of a conqueror, she 
swung her shoulders and rolled her eyes. Un 
der her arms she bore her deceased goose. By 
her side strode the blacksmith. 

Within the office three contrite boys sat fac 
ing the old Squire. They looked chastened but 
visibly relieved. They had made promises, they 
had incurred indebtedness, they had parted with 
personal property, but they felt indescribable re 
lief. They had escaped jail and disgrace and 
lifelong humiliation. 






The Squire points a moral. 


old Justice paused and then 
thought a moment. His spectacles 
were pushed up to the mop of brist 
ly gray hair on his forehead, his 
lean and veinous hands clasped his 
bony knees. There was a silence broken only 
by the measured ticking of the old round-faced 
Horton clock high on the wall. 

At last, as if decided, he leaned forward, re 
placed his spectacles and peered through them 
with his gray eyes, doubly piercing through his 
shaggy gray eyebrows. 

"I spose that you boys never thought of 
reely killin thet goose, did ye?" he queried. 

u No sir, I didn t never," Pewt hastened to 

"Ner me neither," joined in Plupy and 
Beany, hastily. 



U N ye didn t think thet you were plaguing 
an old lady and destroying her property." 

"No sir," they asseverated earnestly. 

U N ye wouldn t hev liked it to have three 
boys plague your mothers or your aunts like 
that, would ye?" 

"No sir, we wouldn t," stoutly affirmed the 

"Wa al then, boys," demanded the Squire, 
"Why did ye do it?" 

"Why sir," explained Plupy volubly, confi 
dent of the reasonable character of his explana 
tion, "she was a old nigger woman, an we 
didn t s pose she would care so much, else we 
wouldn t ha did it. Would we ha Pewt, would 
we ha Beany?" continued Plupy, seeking con 
firmation in the cumulative testimony of his co- 

"Nigger woman!" blazed the Squire in a ter 
rible voice, at which Plupy shrunk into the col 
lar of his mud-splashed shirt, and Pewt and 
Beany retired behind their eye-balls that sud 
denly expanded like dinner plates. "Who was 


Abraham Lincoln?" 

No answer from the paralyzed boys. 

"Answer me !" said the Squire, with his eyes 
narrowing like slits. 

"He was President sir," stammered Pewt. 

"What did he do?" 

"He freed the slaves," said Beany, recover 
ing his powers of speech. 

"What did he do that for?" insisted the 

" Cause they had to work like time, n wuz 
licked and slammed round," said Plupy. 

"Wasn t that jest what you boys wuz doing 
to old Hannah?" demanded their inquisitor. 

The three boys hung their heads in shame. 
"Look here boys," said the Squire in an altered 
voice, "I don t think you quite understand the 
matter and I want to tell you a story. 

"When I was a boy bout yer age, ther wuz 
a young colored boy here called Josh Zack. 
Nobody knew just where he came from. He 
had been brought here by a fine-looking gentle 
man who d put up at the Dodge Tavern down 


pretty near the place where yew boys were 
chasin these geese. The mornin arter the gen 
tleman wuz found dead in his room with a bot 
tle of pizen in one hand and a daguerreotype of 
a white-haired old lady in the other. 

He had burned his papers and th wuzn t 
nary thing on him that would give anyone an 
idea of who he wuz n where he came from. 
The colored boy wuz near dead with grief and 
couldn t tell anything about him. 

Well, they put notices in the papers, n they 
wrote letters, n they tried everything to find 
out abaout him, but couldn t hear a word, n the 
upshot of the hull matter wuz that the town had 
ter bury him. Ther wuz an alltermutterble 
howdy-dew about it, n a special town meetin 
wuz called, n old Cy Pettigrew n some others 
said the caounty had ought to bury him, n they 
eenamost fit over it, but Squire Sullivan said t 
wuz pretty hot weather n they better bury him 
first n fight bout the pay arterwards. So they 
did it, n I never knew which paid it, the town 
er the caounty. 


Josh had been brought here 
by a fine-looking gentleman 


"Wa al, the next thing wuz, who sh d take 
the nig colored boy. Ole Bill Trefethen 
wanted him, but Bill was so mean he would hev 
worked him like a nig a horse, n probly haff 
starved him. So old John Emery took him into 
the tavern. 

"Wa al, boys, he wuz the smartest feller you 
ever see, and the best to the boys. He blacked 
boots, n run arrents, n rubbed down horses, n 
fed pigs, n waited on the table, though some 
times the boarders said he wuz a bit strong, him 
bein a nig colored boy n doin the work in 
the stable, but everybody liked him. 

"Why, he wuz the greatest feller in the 
woods you ever see, n seemed to know by in 
stinct jest where the squirrels nests wuz, n jest 
where to find the birdnests, n ez fer fishin why, 
he cud ketch a ten paound pickerel where they 
hadn t been nothin seen for years but minnies 
er horn paout. 

"He cud swim better n any feller I ever see, 
n when a schooner was tied up to the wharf 
he would dive from the yards. N he could 


swim under water further than any tew of the 
boys together. 

"Ye see, twuz funny, but the shock of his 
master s death was so great that he couldn t re 
member anything since he had come to Ameri 
ca, but could remember all about the days when 
he lived in Africa, and he knew all the birds n 
beasts, n catamounts, n different tribes. N 
whenever a circus n caravan came round Josh 
was jest crazy about leopards n lions n tigers 
n elephants n all manner of rarin n tarin 
beasts. Why once he went into a circus n jest 
chattered at the animals n it did seem ez if they 
all understood him, n the man-eetin tiger that 
nobody dared to go near came down to the bars 
of its cage n jest licked Josh s hand. 

"Gosh!" said Beany. 

"By time!" chimed in Plupy. 

"Geewhittaker!" gasped Pewt. 

"Wa al boys," continued the Squire, "that 

air ornery nig colored boy was the beatenist 

feller you ever see. He could call a dog away 

from its master, drive any sort of a runaway or 



kicking horse, n milk a caow that would kick 
as high as a man s head. Boys n dogs n babies 
n children follered him about jessif they wuz 
tied to him. 

"Wa al Josh got to be a young man n got to 
goin with a colored girl named Minty Ann. She 
lived down near where old Hannah s cottage is 
but further up the hill. 

"We fellers never suspected anything until 
Josh began to dress up. First he bought a pair 
of galluses to keep his trousers up. Before that 
he either used a nail or a piece er string. Then 
he got him a pair of the aufullest green trousers 
you ever see in this world, a blue coat with brass 
buttons thet old Squire Sullivan let him have, 
a fireman s red helmet, a bright red hankercher 
and the biggest pair of cowhide stogies I ever 
see, lessee, they wuz number fourteens. That 
wuz what made him swim so fast, his feet wuz 
jelluk paddles." 

"Then he began to desart us evenins when we 
wuz playin "Red Lion," n "Run Sheep Run," 
n "How Many Miles to Barbaree," n "Tit- 



Tat-two" on peoples winders with a brick, J n 
trippin up people, n, Hem! Hem!" coughed 
the old Squire with some confusion as he caught 
himself and realized that he had wandered 
from his moral. 

"So we called a council of war and one day 
when we got him alone we went f er him n made 
him tell. Josh laughed n haw-hawed, n kee- 
heed but finally when we all piled on him and 
begun to tickle him he gave in. Josh couldn t 
stan tickling. He owned up that he wuz a goin 
to marry Minty Ann ez soon ez they could earn 
enough money to hire n furnish the little house 
by the river. That old Elder Twilight wuz a 
goin to marry em. 

"Well, we fellers said it wuz all right slong s 
Josh invited us to the weddin n Josh said he 
would, n so that night we all piled down ter 
her house n made them both treat. 

"You know, boys, thet there s an old saying 

n a true one, That fortune knocks once at 

every man s door. Also thet There s a time 

in the affairs of men thet taken at its flood 



leads on to victory. Well, boys, thet s true 
too, but it don t always lead to victory." 

The boys nodded, for those old saws had 
been hammered into them for years. 

"Wa al," suthin er thet kind happened to 
Josh all ter onct." 

"You see, one day a fishin schooner came 
up the river n tied up at the upper wharf. Of 
course we boys wuz aboard her baout ez soon 
ez she docked. Josh wuz there too abaout ez 
soon ez we wuz. Don t know haow many times 
we wuz driv off the schooner. 

"Wa al, the next day the schooner s cook, a 
big brute of a man got drunk and it took three 
plicemen to handcuff him n put him in the lock 
up. They fit all over Water Street. 

"Gosh," said Plupy, "I wish I could ha seen 

"Thasso," said Beany with unction. 

"Me too," said Pewt, violently nudging 

"The next day Cap n Anderson, thet wuz his 
name, called Josh into his cabin J n had a long 


talk with him. When Josh told us, baout it we 
nearly tumbled over in astonishment. It seems 
thet old Squire Jotham Lawrence the Jestice be 
fore whom the cook was tried, had sent him to 
jail for brawl n tewmult, sault n battery, re- 
sistence to lawfully constitewted authorities 
which wuz pretty serious offences n jest what 
you boys hez been duin terday, n I might hev 
done the same to yew f I hadn t thought they 
wuz some good in ye. 

"Gosh!" whispered Plupy, shivering. 

"By time !" muttered Beany under his breath. 

"Gorryation!" hissed Pewt in terror. 

"Wa al, ez I wuz savin ," resumed the 
Squire, "Cap n Anderson hed lost his cook, n 
ez the schooner came from South Carline n 
couldn t stay here but a week, n couldn t go 
back without a cook, the cap n had to hire one, 
so he offered Josh a hundred dollars to go with 

"Wa al, Josh didn t know what to do. He 
wanted the hundred dollars because it would 
hire n furnish the little house, but he hated to 

It took three policemen to 
handcuff the schooner s cook 


leave us n Minty Ann for so long, as he 
couldn t get back until Crismas or jest before. 

"So that night we fellers, n Josh n Minty 
Ann hed a counsel of war in the old Ladd Cem 
etery. We talked, n talked, n argied it over 
in every way. We wuz sorry to lose Josh for 
so long, but we told him we would look out for 
Minty Ann while he wuz away, n help her fix 
up the house, n ez Josh promised to bring us 
each a parrot n a monkey we thought it wuz 
a good thing all raound. 

The next day wuz set aside fer a good time 
and all the boys n most all the dogs n Josh 
spent the entire day in the woods, fields n swim- 
min places. Josh told us again the stones of 
his early life in Africa, sang the songs, n 
danced the dances of the native Africans, n 
some of them wuz turrible funny ones too, n at 
night we all went up to Minty Anns n had the 
best supper I ever et in my life. 

Josh sailed the next day. We all went down 
to the wharf to see him off, n one of the fellers 
made a speech n we give him a yellow belt with 


a big horse pistol. We all hugged him, and it 
seemed ez if he and Minty Ann couldn t let go 
of each other. They both cried like two big 
babies and I guess all of us did tew, I know I 
did. Then we all escorted Minty Ann home, 
and she cried all the way. 

"Wa al the next six months passed away 
quickly enough, for we boys always had enough 
to do, n ez fer Minty Ann she worked every 
minute for that house. We all helped, and 
whenever she bought a new piece of furniture 
or had one given her we all looked it over and 
made suggestions as to where it should be put 
or hung. 

As Crismas approached we wuz as oneesy ez 
fleas. We could hardly wait to see Josh n ez 
fer Minty Ann I don t believe she slep a wink 
the night before. The day before Crismas we 
watched the railroad station, the coaching sta 
tions n every road that led out of Exeter, but 
no Josh. The week passed, n no tidins from 
him. It was turrible to see the grief of Minty 



"Regularly every mornin we ran down to 
her house n explained the hundred things that 
might hev delayed him, n every mornin we 
left her happy n expectant, n every night clean 
tuckered out with disappintment. 

At last it wuz whispered abaout that Josh 
had been sold into slavery, and the public be 
came very much stirred up over it. When Min- 
ty Ann first heard of it she wuz like a crazy 
critter n went ravin eraound like a lunatic, n 
then hed a spell of brain fever for weeks. 

In the meantime the people had raised money 
enough to send a lawyer south to make inquir 
ies. They put advertisements in the papers and 
offered rewards fer him. But nothin came of it 
all, except finding the schooner in Charleston. 
Anderson hed disappeared, n the crew had been 
paid off n hed shipped again. The last seen of 
Cap n Anderson wuz when he started for Ala 
bama with a young colored man. 

After six or seven weeks Minty Ann got 
raound again, a thin, worn, hard-featured wo 
man, so changed from the jolly, plump Minty 


Ann of the old days that we could scarcely rec 
ognize her. When she wuz told of the result 
of the sarch for Josh, she made no comment, 
and scarcely seemed to understan it. 

"Wa al, years passed away and the occur 
rence eanamost passed out of mind. I had 
grown to a young man and had been away to 
school. Just after the fall of Sumpter I came 
home. There was a power of excitement at / 
every station, and when I got out of the car at 
Exeter I wuz met by Minty Ann, her eyes shin- 
in n she seemed like a young woman. 

"She was powerful excited baout the war 
and had been told thet Josh \\x5uld be freed n 
come home n she wanted .to know what I 
thought baout it. Twuz th^ first time I thought 
of it and I fairly shouted with delight. We ha 
got to win, Minty Ann, I said, n we re goin to. 
You ll see Josh yet." 

"From that time Minty Ann became the most . 

bloodthirsty Northerner you ever see in this 

world. She took a turrible delight in accounts 

of battles n lists of dead n wounded. She 



sewed, knit, picked lint n wore her fingers to 
the bone working for the soldiers. She wanted 
to go to the front ez a nurse, but she couldn t 
bear to think that Josh might come back n not 
find her waitin . 

"Wa al, the war was over n the regiments 
begun to come back. Every train thet came 
through Exeter found her at the station with a 
basket of cookies n jumbles n things for the 
soldiers, n haow she could ask questions, but 
she couldn t find out the leastest thing about 

"Time passed, the vets had all returned, and 
hope desarted Minty Ann n she again grew 
thin, haggard n hopeless. After a while her 
mind seemed to fail her and she became rheu 
matic and almost helpless, and when the new 
caounty farm wuz built she wuz sent thar, n 
wuz soon forgotten boys, as we ll all be some 

"Gosh," said Plupy, "that was tough on 

"I d like to lam time out er old Anderson," 


said Pewt. 

u He had oughter been hung, or et by a bear," 
declared Beany, with heat. 

"A few years ago I wuz a settin in my house 
one night in winter. There wuz a turrible driv- 
in snow storm outside, n t wuz colder n 
Greenland. Suddenly the bell rung n I went to 
the door n let in a pliceman. He hed been to 
the caounty farm thet day with some prisoner. 
He told me there wuz an old colored woman 
there who used to live in Exeter, n she wuz dy- 
in n wanted to see me. He said jest ez yew 
did, boys, she is an old nigger woman n I guess 
it don t amaount to much, n it hurt me when I 
heerd ye say it boys." 

The boys hung their heads in shame, as the 
Squire looked at them with stern eyes. 

"We re sorry, n we wouldn t ha did it if 
we d thought," said Beany apologetically. 

"Why boys," continued the Squire after a 
long pause and a glance that sunk into their 
guilty souls, "I d a gone to the farm to see her 
ef I d had to go barefut, n I went. Hed to 



leave the pung on the road haffway thar, t 
wuz so drifty, n hed to get on old Whitey s 
back, eenamost froze to death, but I got thar. 

"When I got thawed out enough to get 
abaout and had seen to Whitey who wuz eena 
most used up, the keeper took me into the sick 
room n I got a start, for thar on a bed lay an 
old white-haired colored woman. Twuz Min- 
ty Ann, I knew her to onct by her eyes n her 
smile, n I tell ye I couldn t speak, ther seemed 
tu be a lump in my throat ez big ez a yarn ball. 
So I sot down in a cheer by her side n jest held 
her hand, n she jest laid thar n smiled. 

"Bimeby she began to speak. She called me 
Marse Jack jelluk she used to. 

"Oh, Marse Jack, it do seem good to see yo. 
Ah knowed yo d come to see ol Minty Ann, 
honey. Minty Ann couldn t bar gwine without 
seein Marse Jack. Marse Jack," and here her 
voice grew tremulous and her face took on the 
same old pitiful pathetic look, my Josh, he 
never kim back while Minty Ann was sick, hey? 

No, Minty Ann, he was never heard of. God 


alone knows where he is , I answered. 

"Minty Ann lay quiet for a few minutes with 
closed eyes. Finally she said, Tse felt to-night 
Marse Jack, lak I se gwine find my Josh, lak 
he s gwine lay is head on my bres, dis pore bres 
dat s been empty dese long years, so long time, 
Marse Jack, so long time. Dat he s gwine come 
back to Minty and splain whar es been. I se 
dream ob tings dis yer night, ob Josh en de ol 
cap n, ob yo s faddy an mammy so good to 
Minty en Josh, ob yo , Marse Jack, en de boys, 
en my ol heart mos bruk for wantin to see you 
onct befo I went. I hears you has little boy, 
Marse Jack, en my ol heart es glad en hopes 
de little boy so good as his fadder en his mam 
my. I se pray de bressed Lord that yo heart 
en yo bres nebber be empty es pore old Min- 
ty s. 

"The pore old thing wuz so weak thet she 
stopped for a few minutes, n nothin wuz heard 
but the tickin of the clock. Finally she begun 

" Tse great favor to ax yo Marse Jack. When 


I done dead kin I be buried in de ol cemtry. 
Pears lak Fse gwine be nearer Josh dar, en 
kin I have a white coffin wid spangles on de 
side en gimcrack handles? En could I have a 
white stun wid Josh en Minty en gret big 
writin ? 

"I promi*ed her it should be as she wished, 
and she smibd contentedly, and feebly pressed 
my hand. 

Tse one ting I se saved for yo, Marse 
Jack. Put ycj hand en my bres en tak dat little 
bag. It was Josh gin me -dat, en I knows he 
tink yo bes serve it. 

"I silently put it in my pocket, and she dozed 
for a few moments. Finally she opened her 
eyes, and with a bright smile said, 

Tse try to forgib dat cap n man, but I no 
tink I kin quite. Tell yo little boy dat Minty 
lak to make him cooky. I se very tired en 
hope see Josh soon. 

"That wuz the last she said, for she died 
right arter thet, n I sot n held her hand for a 
long time. The next mornin I made arrange- 


ments for her funeral in the old cemetery. 

"Sometime, boys, when ye gwup thar, jest 
look at those twin stones thar. Twuz the least 
I could do for the pore old critter. Wa al," he 
continued with a smile that thawed out his 
gnarled and frosty countenance like the sun on 
a frost, "the boys near mobbed m<. to let them 
pay their share, jest insisted on it. They wuz 
good boys, the hull on em." 

"Judge," said Pewt, after vigorous nudges 
by Plupy and Beany, raising his hand as if he 
were in school, "what did Miss Minty Ann give 

kk Oh yes," said the Squire, "I clean forgot 
thet. When I got home I opened the bag and 
thar, whacher s pose it wuz? It wuz the pic 
ture of the harnsom white-haired old lady thet 
hed been found in the dead man s hand so many 
years ago." 

There was a long silence, then the Squire 
nodded dismissal to the boys and they stole out 
on tiptoe. As they glanced back the Squire sat 
gazing into vacancy, busy with memories of the 




Plupy enters upon a short but meteoric mercantile career 
and with the aid of his friends introduces pleasing variety 
into the management of a country store. 


kindness of the old Squire and 
their narrow escape from jail did 
not fail to have an influence for the 
better on the boys. Plupy had 
purchased immunity from further 
complaint of the old laay by the sacrifice of an 
old Brahma rooster and a yjlow hen, bor^ 
somewhat stricken in years but still in fair con 
dition. Pewt and Beany had agreed to paint 
the single floor of her modest dwelling, which 
they were enabled to do without expense, as 
their fathers were both "Painters, Grainers, 
Glazers and Paper Hangers," as their concise, 
yet comprehensive and gaudily painted signs in 
formed the public. 

The time of Beany and Pewt could scarcely 
be taken into consideration, as it was not exact- 


ly a marketable commodity, and so Plupy was at 
once freed from all further responsibility, while 
they had still duties to perform. 

Plupy s conscience always troubled him after 
punishment for or conviction of any offence, and 
this case was no exception. Although he grieved 
for the loss of his old rooster and hi; venerable 
hen, he did not consider he had pai \ any more 
than he deserved, and he reflected over the cer 
tainty that detection and punishment always fol 
lowed evil doing, and resolved, as he had a hun 
dred times before, to ^CwOrne a law-abiding citi- 
/.^ and a cre^ t to the town that gave him 

In furtherance of this resolve, he determined 
to seek a situation for the short remaining time 
of his vacation. Jack Melvin, who had been 
working in "old" Tom Conner s grocery store 
as chore boy, had severely jammed his hand in 
helping move a barrel of flour and had been 
obliged to give up a situation that he had 
adorned for several weeks. Truth to say, his 
employer had not been particularly sorry to 


part with him, because Jack, although an active, 
bright and intelligent youth, was too much giv 
en to the society of such desperate characters as 
Skinny Bruce, Jim Early, Honey Donvan and 
Hiram Mingo. 

Plupy, learning of this opportunity in one of 
his enforced visits to the store in quest of sup 
plies for the family, at once applied for the posi 
tion, and the old gentleman, influenced by the 
liberal patronage of a large and hearty family, 
at once engaged him at a salary to be dependent 
upon his efficiency, which was a good thing for 
both parties, inasmuch as it furnished a power 
ful incentive for Plupy to make himself abso 
lutely indispensable to his employer, in which 
case he could charge an enormous salary and 
speedily become rich and great. 

And while Beany and Pewt were undergoing 
the drudgery of enforced labor, Plupy entered 
joyfully upon a mercantile life and appeared 
the next morning at a phenomenally early hour, 
unlocked the store door and proceeded to take 
down the shutters. Not calculating accurately 


the weight of these articles, the moment he re 
leased one from its bars he was borne quickly 
to earth and crushed almost flat by its superin 
cumbent weight. 

He succeeded in crawling out after prodig 
ious wiggling and removed the other without 
damage beyond chipping a piece from one cor 
ner as it struck the brick sidewalk edgewise. 

He then, according to directions, proceeded 
to sweep out the store and had succeeded in 
raising a most terrific dust when his employer 
arrived, and reproved him with great harshness 
for not sprinkling before sweeping, which sen 
sibly abated his enthusiasm for the life of a 
merchant, and further obliged him to carefully 
dust the countless articles in the store. As it was 
Friday, there was no delivery wagon on duty 
that day, delivery of goods only being made on 
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays of each 

Plupy was then put to work encasing the 
handle end of salt fish in coarse brown paper, 
scooping brown sugar from barrels, drawing 


Plupy was borne quickly 
to earth 


kerosene and molasses, plunging his hands in 
pork barrels full of brine and dragging from its 
depths oblong pieces of fat pork, spearing salt 
mackerel from smaller but less fragrant barrels, 
trying his hand vainly at the skillful task of do 
ing up brown paper parcels, (there were no pa 
per bags in those days), digging potatoes from 
a dusty bin in the back shop, running errands 
and exerting himself in a hundred ways. 

When he went to dinner he was tired, his 
hands were sore and his feet ached, but he was 
exceedingly conscious of the dignity of his posi 
tion, and ate his dinner with great solemnity, 
and forgetting to fill the wood-box he rushed for 
the store, with his coat over his arm and the 
jaunty swing of the bundle clerk. 

Arrived at the emporium, he graciously al 
lowed his employer to go to his dinner and upon 
his departure immediately sampled figs, the loaf 
sugar and the raisins, all of which had figured 
prominently among the incentives which 
prompted him to take the position. The head 
clerk, coming in about this time, lighted a cigar, 


sat down in the easy chair ordinarily occupied 
by his employer, and proceeded to instruct 
Plupy in his duties, which consisted in doing 
everything that the head clerk was expected to 

During the afternoon business was slack. The 
old gentleman did not return from dinner un 
til about three o clock, and Plupy in the mean 
time had swept up the store again, moved a 
cart load of boxes and parcels and incidentally 
absorbed a pound or so of dried prunes, which 
began to swell and cause him some internal dis 

He could not eat any supper, and after spend 
ing a wretched evening in alternately obeying 
orders of his employer and the head clerk, and 
fighting off the pangs of dissolution, he was al 
lowed to go home, where he became violently 
ill, but was soon relieved by strong doses of 
warm water and mustard, and fell into the deep 
and dreamless sleep that follows manly toil. 

The next morning he rose unwillingly, yet be 
times, and found himself as stiff as a soda 


cracker, but ravenous for his breakfast and en 
thusiastic for his business. He bolted his break 
fast in hot haste and hurried to the store. He 
was a little late and in endeavoring to hasten 
the removal of the shutters he was unfortunate 
enough to break a pane of glass in the front 
window, which earned for him not only the 
stern reproaches of his employer, but an entry 
on the debit side of his account of 75 cents, 
which depressed him greatly. 

However, it was delivery day and he was to 
drive the team after the head clerk had returned 
with the orders. So he cheered up and swept 
out, and went through the various duties im 
posed on him with great cheerfulness and 
alacrity. As he worked, his stiffness gradually 
abated, and he came to forget his misfortune in 
breaking the glass. 

Now one of the most important duties of a 
retail grocery dealer is to accurately distribute 
the articles ordered. It is very trying to the 
good housewife who has ordered a dozen eggs, 
which she must have at ten o clock sure to make 


that cake she has promised for the Unitarian 
sociable, to find their place taken by clothes 
pins, and it is hardly fair for the woman who 
has set her heart upon salt pork, to be expected 
to content herself with the unwelcome arrival 
of dried apples. Nor does kerosene fill the 
same place in the economy of the household as 
molasses or coffee-crushed sugar. 

Accordingly, great pains were taken to im 
press Plupy with the absolute necessity of ob 
serving great care in the proper delivery of the 
goods, and the different bundles were properly 
labelled before being intrusted to his care, and, 
with many injunctions sounding in his ears, he 
drove off in great elation. The horse wore a 
hitch-rein to which a heavy iron weight was at 
tached and at the first stopping place, at Mrs. 
Oilman s on Front street, the home of Fatty, 
Plupy sprang from the team, adjusted the hitch- 
rein, deliverd his bundles, climbed into the wag 
on and clucked to the horse. 

He had, unfortunately for unimpeded pro 
gress omitted to loosen the hitch-rein and the 


horse, feeling the bearing of the weight, turned 
so abruptly that he tipped the wagon up until 
part of the contents, consisting, of course, of a 
dozen or two of eggs, three parcels of sugar 
and a dozen plates, fell in the street and were 
scattered from curb to curb before Plupy could 
stop the horse. To add to his discomfiture, 
two sporty gentlemen who were taking advan 
tage of a chance opportunity to have a little 
horse-race were compelled to pull their foam 
ing charges up on their haunches and with great 
abruptness, which caused them to let loose a 
storm of inelegant abuse on that much disturbed 
youth that nearly drove him to recourse in tears. 
He backed his horse, straightened his team, 
got down on his knees and did the best he could 
to collect his scattered wares, but with indiffer 
ent success. He got most of the sugar back in 
the paper, but it was sanded in a much greater 
degree than the most economical imagination of 
any grocer would allow, and as for the eggs, 



"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, 
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; 

All the King s horses and all the King s men 
Couldn t put Humpty Dumpty together again." 

Resolved, however, to make the best of a bad 
matter, he delivered the rest of his wares with 
out accident and in some trepidation returned to 
the store to make good the loss and secure a 
new load. 

His employer displayed great indignation 
over the matter and promptly entered the 
amount of the loss to Plupy s account and ex 
pressed a very decided opinion that Plupy was 
the "Biggest Idjut" he ever "see or heerd tell 


Little by little the impression was creeping 
over Plupy that the position of clerk in a gro 
cery store was not going to be quite as lucrative 
a situation as he had expected, and when his 
employer and the head clerk withdrew for din 
ner he was almost too much depressed to enjoy 
his figs and raisins, of which, mindful of his ex 
perience of the evening before, he ate sparingly 
but with great enjoyment. 


He was further cheered by the arrival of 
Beany and Pewt, who had finished their en 
gagement at Miss Blossom s and were in search 
of adventures, including figs, raisins and brown 
sugar. Plupy at once and with great liberality 
shared all he had in his hands and pockets, but 
refused to get any more from the stock, taking 
high moral ground. 

The boys took exception to this and argued 
their views strongly, but Plupy wouldn t budge 
from his position. However, he had no objec 
tion to showing goods, which, as this was a 
country store, consisted of a large variety, from 
New England rum to cowhide boots. Among 
this variety, to their great delight, they found 
several very curious pop-guns. They were pis 
tol shaped, and in place of the hammer there 
was an arm five inches long, that was attached 
to a strong spring, and had at its end a brass 
cup which held the projectile, a small stone, 
bean or shot. The arm when pulled back and 
fastened, was loosed by the trigger and oper 
ated somewhat as a sling shot. 


The boys were delighted with this weapon 
and at once secured small stones from the street 
and began to practise in turn. Several dogs, 
who were peacefully plodding along, had their 
pace greatly accelerated by these missiles, and 
the old store cat, quietly sleeping in the sun, 
jumped at least ten feet at the first shot and dis 
appeared across the street with wild leaps and 
expanded eyeballs. 

The boys nearly died with laughter at every 
shot, and finally when Pewt electrified an old 
farm horse into coltlike activity while its aston 
ished owner frantically pulled on the "web- 
bins" and "whoaed" and "hawed" with aston 
ishment and indignation, they fairly doubled up 
with merriment, and loaded up for the next vic 

It was Beany s next turn, and he cocked his 
weapon and waited. Soon Plupy, who tiptoed 
to the door to watch, announced that old man 
Gilmore was coming along with an old plug, 
whereat Beany made ready and they all waited 
breathlessly. The old plug came in sight and 

<^> \ 

^ t- 



Beany, raising the pop-gun to the required ele 
vation, pulled the trigger just in time to catch 
Plupy s employer, who briskly stepped in view, 
cheerful and refreshed by a good dinner, a 
stinging blow on the end of his capacious and 
prominent nose. 

The Conners were all men of substance, men 
of ability and men of worth, and like many 
prominent families of those days, bore in their 
face some distinguishing features. In the Con 
ner family it was the nose, which in the men was 
large, fleshy and prominent, and capable of as 
tounding bugle tones when judiciously assisted 
by a red bandanna handkerchief. 

Mr. Thomas Conner was an excellent man, a 
man of courtesy, a man of even temper, a man 
of charity, and a God-fearing, Christian gentle 
man. A venerable man of comfortable habits, 
he was not given to feats of agility, but the im 
pact of the stone on his nose seemed to change 
his nature to that of a ravening wolf, and he 
entered the store with a spring like a panther 
and a shout like a wild Irishman at a Hibernian 



Pewt dove out of the side window like a frog, 
and fled down across the wharf; Beany dodged 
under the old gentleman s extended arm like a 
boy playing "coram" and went through the 
front door like a shot, his fat legs in such rapid 
motion that they were almost invisible, his head 
thrown back, his elbows at his side, and every 
nerve strained to accelerate his speed. 

Plupy rushed behind the counter, closely fol 
lowed by the veteran; he swarmed over it, the 
old man vaulted it like a boy between the front 
door and his victim; Plupy fled frantically for 
the back room hoping for an exit in that direc 
tion; his enemy was at his heels; he seized an 
empty barrel in passing and whirled it in the 
path of his pursuer; the old man fell over the 
barrel with a prodigious crash, but was up in a 
second with redoubled wrath. Out into the 
front shop again, Plupy just out of reach, round 
the store again behind the counter, Plupy s col 
lar just an inch away from the outstretched and 
fateful hand of his pursuer. Again they fled 



through the back room, and Plupy by terrific 
sprinting gained a bit. Alas, in trying to turn 
he slipped on the molasses covered floor, fell 
and the old gentleman, unable to stop, fell over 
his prostrate body, recovered himself and rose 
with Plupy in a vice-like grip, and rushed him, 
feet scarcely touching the ground, to the office, 
where his stout, gold-headed cane awaited him. 
Poor Plupy, in spite of his protestations, his 
cries, his writhings and twistings, was caned 
soundly, and discharged without a recommenda 
tion as a "most worthless, good-for-nothing ras 
cal." Poor Plupy, who had but a day before 
made such good resolutions and who had antici 
pated so much pleasure and profit from a busi 
ness life. To go home to his family smeared 
with molasses, shorn of his business reputation, 
and criss-crossed with welts like a plaid dress ! 
Poor, poor Plupy! 



The Elder Shute rescues a chicken and rebuilds a barn. 

FROM the preceding sidelights on the 
character of our friend, Plupy, one 
may have gained the impression that 
he was not only a mischievous boy 
but far worse, a cruel lad. Any such 
impression was an injustice to him. Far from 
being cruel he was extremely kind-hearted and 
affectionate, as were most of his companions 
and acquaintances. 

When Plupy landed a hard green apple un 
der the ear of an innocent and inoffensive old 
gentleman and transformed that dove of peace 
into a ravening wolf, thirsting for the blood of 
any small boy on the street, he had no thought 
of the pain he inflicted, of the mortification of 
the old gentleman when he dispassionately re 
viewed his bursts of language, of the danger of 
apoplexy caused by the rush of blood to his 


head due to his rapid passage over fences and 
down alleys in futile pursuit of his prey. 

No, he only felt a justifiable pride in his 
marksmanship, and a keen and unalloyed delight 
in the sinful profanity and wondrous agility of 
the mark. 

Again, when a smooth pebble or a couple of 
buckshot impelled with terrific force from his 
slingshot impinged upon a dog or cat peaceably 
taking the air, the shrill yelp of the canine and 
the loud yawl of the feline and their frantic 
leaps for safety, gave him such delight that he 
rolled on the ground with laughter. And yet, 
the idea of pain never entered his head, and if 
the same dog or cat were drowning or caught in 
a trap he would go to any length to save or 
relieve them. 

The highly colored spatter that a rich, ripe, 
and juicy tomato would make when propelled 
with judgment between the shoulders of a friend 
dressed in his Sunday suit on a week day, was 
to him not only interesting from an artistic view 
and delightful from a humorous standpoint, but 


thoroughly justifiable, for, as he expressed it, 
"No feller hadn t got no business to wear his 
best clothes on a weekday, and any feller which 
done it had ought to be plugged." 

No, Plupy was not cruel, only a bit perhaps, 
thoughtless, with a very keen sense of the ridic 
ulous, and possessing an active imagination. On 
one occasion, being the fortunate possessor of a 
wing-tipped partridge, he spent all his half-holi 
days for a month in excursions to the woods in 
the football season, where he painfully gathered 
partridge berries and other woodland plunder, 
scratched himself with briars, mired himself to 
the eye-brows in bottomless bogs, smeared his 
clothes and hands with pitch, and impaled him 
self on hidden stubs, in order to nurse and care 
for his pet 

He would toss his rooster over the fence into 
a neighboring hen yard and watch the contest 
which immediately ensued, with soul-absorbing 
interest, and, the fight once decided, whether 
for or against his bird, he would bathe, salve 
and care for the bruised and bloody gladiators 



with the greatest care and patience. 

He was always bringing home diseased dogs 
which invariably developed fits and had to be 
killed, or cats that had fleas and drove the en 
tire family to scratching and complaining. 

He was fond of frogs, toads, mice, squir 
rels, birds, worms, beetles, slugs, snakes and all 
sorts of crawling, creeping, biting, stinging and 
otherwise unpleasant vermin, to which he was 
invariably kind and attentive, although his min 
istrations to their needs usually resulted in their 
untimely deaths. 

He was particuarly fond of chickens, and al 
ways had several broods every spring and sum 
mer, which he watched over like a guardian an- 

Plupy inherited this fondness for animals 
from his father, who had a mania for purchas 
ing spring-halted and spavined old plugs and 
treating them with a variety of decoctions of 
his own inventing, which, when applied, al 
though warranted to remove the cause of lame 
ness or disease, removed nothing but the hair 


and oft-times the hide of the afflicted but patient 

He would buy cows that promptly developed 
garget, horn-ail, or sevenfold indigestion in 
every one of their stomachs at once, and in time 
he would succeed in removing them from a sin 
ful world by judicious and kindly-intentioned 

And so one night when Plupy brought him 
the appalling intelligence that one of his newly 
hatched chickens had been buried in a corner of 
the barn beneath the super-incumbent weight of 
about a ton and a half of hay, the old gentle 
man was all sympathy, and with him sympathy 
meant action. 

Armed with a couple of forks, Plupy and his 
father mounted to the barn loft. "Listen fath 
er," said Plupy, breathing heavily through the 
nose from his haste in mounting the stairs. 

"Howjer spose I can listen, when you are 
breathing like a planing mill?" retorted the old 
gentleman. "Shut up, and praps I can hear 



Thus adjured Plupy held his breath. Sure 
enough, they heard a distant, muffled peep from 
one corner where the hay was piled the highest. 

"There he is," said Plupy s father, and with 
great vigor began to pitch huge forkfuls of fra 
grant hay on poor Plupy with stern parental 
command to stow it away and be lively. In 
deed, had not Plupy been in the highest degree 
lively and energetic he would soon have shared 
the fate of the imprisoned chicken. Indeed, it 
was only by taking advantage of the frequent in 
tervals when the old gentleman s wind gave out, 
that Plupy by hard work managed to keep his 
head above the surface. As it was he was hard 
put to keep up, and his tongue hung out like a 
panting dog, while he inhaled hayseed, dust, 
and a variety of foreign substances that made 
him sneeze thunderously and wheeze like a 

For an hour they worked with short intervals 

of rest and refreshment, without incident. The 

feeble peeping became nearer and stronger; the 

mound of hay decreased steadily while that be- 



hind Plupy became mountainous. Finally they 
removed the last forkful. "There he is, fath 
er," shrieked Plupy, "grab him, quick!" 

Both Plupy and his father dashed forward 
and grabbed frantically at the small mite. Their 
heads came together with a thud. "Ow! ow! 
ow!!" howled Plupy as he went over back 
wards, striking his head resoundingly on the 
bare boards. 

"What in thunder you trying to do, you 
numbhead?" roared Plupy s father, holding his 
nose with both hands and blinking through a 
flash of fireworks. 

Plupy arose warily and ready to dodge the 
expected cuff, but it came not, for his father 
stood staring at a small hole in the side wall of 
the barn with his eyes bulging out like walnuts. 

"Well, I swear," he growled, "that infernal 
little cuss fell down that hole. 

Instantly hostilities were suspended and they 
listened intently. Sure enough, from the depths 
of the hole came the feeble, frightened peeping 
of the little prisoner. 



"Whacher goin t do now, father?" queried 

"Let the little idiot rip," snarled Plupy s 
father. "Whaddier think, I m goin to crawl 
down that hole like a thunderin garter snake?" 
he continued, with fine sarcasm. 

"I guess not," he continued without waiting 
for a reply, "I ve broke my back and strained 
both arms pitchin over more n fifteen tons of 
damp hay that weighed three thousand pounds 
to the ton, and I ve breathed in a half bushel of 
hayseed and cobwebs, and I m not going to lift 
a finger if that cussed chicken peeps until dooms 
day," and Plupy s father, snorting with disgust, 
tramped heavily down the creaking stairs, fol 
lowed by the reluctant Plupy, almost in tears. 

"Aw, come on now father," he pleaded, 
"what s the good of leaving the poor little 
thing in that hole?" 

"I tell you I ve done all I m goin to," said 
Plupy s father. 

"Howdjer like to be in a hole like him?" 
queried Plupy. 



" F I didn t know any better than to fall 
down a hole when somebody was tryin to save 
my life I ought to stay there," retorted Plupy s 
father grumpily. 

"But I think it s mean to leave a poor little 
chicken to die down in a black hole like that. 
Jest like s not a big rat will get him," said 
Plupy mournfully, "it s mean as dirt, so now!" 

"Not another word, sir," said Plupy s father 
warningly, "unless you want to get your ears 

Plupy discreetly said no more, but went down 
by the side of the barn and listened. Pretty 
soon he shouted, "Say Father, he s right inside 
here, and if we can pull this board out about 
an inch or two we can get him." 

"Git a crowbar over to Sam Dyers and we 
will try it. Hurry up now," said Plupy s father, 
again laying off his coat. 

Plupy ran for the crowbar and returned in 

half a minute. Then Plupy s father inserted 

the point of the bar in the crack and sprung 

it back an inch or so, whereupon Plupy, to as- 



sist, promptly put his fingers in the crevice thus 
made. Just at this point Plupy s father, seeing 
a better place, removed the crowbar and the 
board sprung back and cruelly pinched poor 
Plupy s hands. 

"Ow ! Ow ! ! Ow ! ! ! I m caught, father ! you r 
pinchin my fingers off ! Ow ! Ow ! !" he roared. 

"You thunderin fool! whatcher put them in 
there for?" stormed Plupy s father, rushing 
back with the bar and prying the boards apart, 
while Plupy, wailing loudly, pressed his in 
jured fingers between his knees and alternately 
bent double and straightened out in dire an 
guish of spirit 

"Come! come!" said Plupy s father impa 
tiently, you are not killed quite yet, so stop 

"Guess you d howl if you had all your fingers 
jammed into puddin ," groaned Plupy. 

Finally, however, he calmed his troubled 
spirit and with his father turned again to rescue 
the imprisoned. 

The next move was to put the point of the 


bar under a board and Plupy s father straight 
ened up. The board did not give or spring. 
Again he heaved like a Titan. No result. Then, 
giving utterance to a gruntingly expressed de 
termination to "start the cu-cu-ssed thing if he 
bub-bub-broke the bar," he strained and tugged 
until the cords in his neck stood out and his eyes 
became bloodshot. 

Still no result. Plupy s father was puzzled 
until he found that he had placed the bar be 
neath the stone foundation and was trying des 
perately to lift the entire building single-handed 
and alone, whereupon he cursed heartily. 

Next he carefully placed the bar in the right 
place and threw his weight on it. Crack! the 
board came off so quickly that he fell on his 
hands and knees with his hands under the bar. 

Plupy did not laugh. He knew better than 
that. Plupy s father should not have said such 
things as he did in Plupy s hearing. 

Now Plupy s father was a man of determina 
tion, and right there he registered a solemn vow 
to get that chicken if he tore that barn down, 


and he went about his task promptly and vigor 
ously but with a singular absence of skill and 

Plupy watched his father with bated breath 
as clapboards, sheathing and studding fell in 
showers, and the crack and shiver of rending 
wood filled the air. Finally Plupy s father got 
the chicken. It ran out into the grass and 
boards under Plupy s father s feet. They 
hunted some time for it and finally found it. 
Plupy s father had accidentally stepped on it. 
Plupy s father weighed two hundred and fif 
teen pounds. The chicken was very small, but 
after it was stepped on it spread out over a 
considerable space. 

The carpenters came next day and the day 
after and the day after that. 

Plupy s father was a kind-hearted man, but 
nobody in the family said anything to him about 
it. It would not have been well to do so. 



With the humane intention of promoting the common 
welfare and smoothing of the asperities of war, the boys 
get up a "Debatin Club." 

DURING the somewhat checkered 
boyhood of our friend Plupy, the 
little town of Exeter, unfortunate 
as the birthplace of such desperate 
characters as Plupy, Pewt, Beany, 
Puzzy, Whack, Bug, Skinny, Fatty and others, 
was, per contra, fortunate in having maintained 
for a series of years an excellent course of lec 
tures known as the "Lyceum Course." 

From a literary, educational and social point 
of view the Lyceum held a position of unques 
tioned pre-eminence in the opinion of thinking 
citizens, but in the candid opinion of the boys it 
fell far short of the intrinsic and manifold excel 
lence of "Comical Brown," "Dolly Bidwell," 
"Morris Brothers Minstrels" and "Wash- 
burn s Grand Sensation." 


However the Lyceum was not without its ef 
fect upon the minds of our small friends, as in 
one way or another, by passing bills, running 
errands, helping the janitor sweep the Town 
Hall floor or assisting in exhuming the rickety 
settees from the cellar, they succeeded in attend 
ing the lectures with praiseworthy regularity, 
and marvelled open-mouthed over the astonish 
ing statements of famous gentlemen, who came, 
saw, conquered, and retired with established 
reputation and replenished bank accounts. 

Our young friends having exhausted their in 
genuity in rehearsing shows of all sorts in Fat 
ty s barn, it is not surprising that the idea of 
having a course of lectures of their own should 
occur to the fertile mind of Plupy. It was in 
fact the most likely thing to have occurred to 
that thoughtful youth, as he had, or to speak 
more correctly, thought he had, which for all 
practical purposes amounted to the same thing, 
a decided talent for literary composition, and 
possessed a style both unusual and appalling. 

Indeed so far from winning the unstinted ap- 


proval of his good preceptor, in the exercise of 
his peculiar gift he had successively and success 
fully achieved distinction in turning out the 
worse specimens of composition ever seen in 
that school. 

Far from being dismayed at lack of appre 
ciation, Plupy, with smiling optimism, attributed 
it to want of literary taste on the part of his 
teacher, and persevered in acquiring a style and 
polish of a hitherto unknown quality. And 
when this chance so opportunely arrived he 
grasped it with enthusiasm, and broached the 
idea confidently to his friends. 

He was grieved to encounter on their part a 
want of ardor and but little encouragement in 
his literary aims, a phenomenon which experi 
ence has taught me is not uncommon in the lit 
erary world of to-day. But by tangible promise 
of refreshments, enthusiasm of a mild sort was 
engendered in their benighted minds, and by 
skilfully dangling this glittering bait before 
their eyes he finally enlisted Beany, Puzzy, 
Whack, Bug, Fatty and Billy Swett for the 



course and appointed Wednesday evening of 
the ensuing week as the date of the first meet 
ing, which gave him ample time to prepare an 
essay of a severely moral nature, under the title 
of "Cheeting." 

At the hour appointed, the subscribers to the 
course met in the large kitchen of Plupy s house, 
and as a preliminary measure held a short busi 
ness meeting, in which it was voted by a strong 
majority that Fatty should preside and intro 
duce the lecturer. 

This happy result was not exactly a tribute to 
his superior qualifications for the position, but 
was due in great measure to his undoubted phy 
sical prowess and his truculent intimation of his 
ability to "lick" any boy in the crowd in the 
very short period of two minutes. 

That his election-fell short of entire unanim 
ity was due to the less pacific disposition of Bug 
who loudly vociferated "No" and intimated 
carping distrust of Fatty s ability to "lick" any 

The vote being declared however and quiet 


restored, Fatty arose to introduce the speaker 
just in time to receive in his flushed and beam 
ing countenance a spitball of such plastic prop 
erties as to adhere with some firmness, with 
which projectile Bug sought to emphasize his 
dissatisfaction with the late election. 

Serious trouble was averted by the interposi 
tion of peacemakers, and after as lucid an intro 
duction as the circumstances allowed, Plupy 
modestly arose and essayed to moisten his 
throat with a bumper of sweetened water which 
was placed on the table in front of him. 

Now Beany, who was by disposition guileful, 
and who sought to enliven the exercises by the 
introduction of pleasing variety, had substituted 
a glass of strong vinegar for the milder decoc 
tion, and when Plupy introduced this acrid li 
quid into his swanlike throat, a sudden and 
startling explosion of coughs, crows and gasps 
followed, which compelled a hasty retirement to 
the sink and the application of drastic measures 
to enable him to regain his breath. 

It was some time before the outraged lecturer 


could be persuaded to return to the platform, 
but finally order was restored and Plupy, hold 
ing his manuscript at the proper angle, in a high 
pitched and most unnatural voice delivered him 
self of the following literary sunburst: 


A moral essay by Plupy depicting the evils of cheeting" 
and enlarging on the depravity of one Charles "Talor" 
and Pewt. 

they is 3 kinds of cheeting. meen cheeting, 
cheeting for fun, and cheeting becaus they is 
times when it wood be pretty meen not to cheet. 

it is rong to cheet enny person, some people 
whitch have cheeted and have got money whitch 
had aught to belong to the people whitch have 
erned it onestly and whitch have been cheeted 
out of it, have lived sinful lives and have gone 
to jale at last. 

"Huh, old Gethro Simpson had ought to go 
to jail for cheetin us," interrupted Beany, bit 
terly, but was silenced by the chairman and the 
lecturer proceeded. 


Beany had substituted a 
glass of strong vinegar for 
the sweetened water 


cheeting is prety bad some times but it is not 
as bad as stealing, my father says so and i 
gess he knows, one day i was playing marbles 
with Pewt and Beany and when it was my tirn 
to set up an ally i set up a big white one which 
was esy to hit and Beany he did two (at this 
point Beany, feeling that the eyes of the world 
were upon him, looked extremely virtuous) and 
when Pewt set one up he set up a f teeny little 
chinee and crowded it into the mud so me and 
Beany coodent hardly see it and he dreened us 
out of all the marbles we had. i lost 48 marbles 
and 3 agats and 6 allys and Beany he lost 92 
big marbles and then Pewt woodent set us up 
and went off ratling them in his pockets so as 
to make us mad, and we was mad two but we 
wood have been madder if Pewt had stole our 
marbles, the next time we plaid i got the littlest 
chinee i cood find to set up and Pewt he kept 
fudging and then i fudged two and Pewt waa 
mad and kept holering no fudging and all the 
time he was fudging two and i dreened Pewt 
and he was mad that time, me and Beany we 


said Pewt cheeted the ferst time and Pewt he 
said i cheeted the second time, but neether of 
us wood steal except Perry Moltons apples and 
that is only hooking. (Great relief and appre 
ciation was manifested at this subtle distinc 

Most all peeple cheet sometimes, my father 
and Charles Talor are all the time cheeting 
eech other in trades and when they find it out 
they dont get mad a bit. cheeting like that aint 
rong becaus they do it jest for fun. 

one day Charles Talor come over to the 
house with a new pair of boots under his arm 
and said he wanted to sell them to father becaus 
they was two tite for him. and father he laffed 
and said it wasent much sence in Talor s trying 
to wear number 9 boots on number 12 feet, and 
Talor he laffed two. then father said how much 
was the boots and Talor said you cood get boots 
not a bit better than those at old Stacys for 5 
dolars and a half and at Erl and Cutts for 5 
dolars and 75 cents but he said he got these so 
cheep that he would let father have them for 


4 dolars and 50 cents, so father he tride them 
on and he stamped his foot and said they felt 
buly and he told Talor he wood give him 2 dol 
ars and 50 cents and they talked and talked and 
talked and bimeby Talor he said he would take 
3 dolars and 25 cents as long as it was father 
but he wood be feerfully cheeted. so father 
paid for them and Talor went of loking prety 
glum and father he laffed and said he guessed 
he was about even with Talor for the hen trade 
when Talor sold him some spring chickens with 
spirs on them 2 inches long and he showed 
mother the boots and said they was wirth 6 dol 
ars if they was wirth a cent and he only paid 3 
dolars and 25 cents for them and mother she 
said that i needed a pair of boots two and as 
long as he saved so much on his boots he had 
better buy me a pair and father he laffed and 
said he wood and the next nite we went down to 
Erl and Cutts and asked for a pair of boots for 
me, and Mister Erl said he had some good 
boots whitch he was selling for almost nothing 
becaus they had been in the store so long, so 



father bought me a pair for i dolar and 25 
cents and they was jest like the ones mister Tal- 
or sold father and then mister Erl asked father 
if he dident want a pair for himself and father 
said he had a new pair and Mister Erl he said 
he sold Talor a pair jest like fathers for one 
dolar and twenty-five cents and father timed 
red and said yes Talor saw his new boots and 
liked them so well that he bought a pair of 
cheep ones that looked jest like them, then we 
went out and father said he wood fix Talor for 
that and he give me five cents not to tell mother 
and Aunt Sarah for they wood laff at him for a 
year. (Great applause by the audience, and 
much commiseration over the profidious con 
duct of Talor). 

they is lots of other kinds of cheering, some 
times when we are playing crokay we try not to 
have to go through the middle wicket but we 
most always get cought when we cheet and then 
Cele gets mad and wont play with us til the 
next time. 

i gess most everybody cheets some, some- 


times somebody comes to the house whitch no 
body wants to see and Aunt Sarah will say, for 
mersy sakes Joanna there comes that dredful 
woman, but when she comes in they say they are 
auful glad to see her and make her take of her 
things and stop to supper and they put on the 
best china and have gelly and hot bisket. so 
one day I asked Aunt Sarah if that wasent cheet- 
ing and Aunt Sarah she said perhaps it was, but 
if we dident do enny wirse cheeting than making 
peeple feel prety good she gessed it wasent very 
bad cheeting. 

the time Fliperty Flannigan marked all my 
words rite and i was going to get a prise for the 
best speler it was cheeting but old Francis licked 
time out of me becaus i told him i hit Cawcaw 
ferst and i wasent going to get another licking 
you bet. (Nods of approbation and shouts of 
"That s right Plupy, bully for you," upon which 
Plupy much encouraged, proceeded). 

sometimes the fellers cheet in school, if a 
feller cant resite his lesson all rite and another 
feller whiten sets next to him knows the ansor 


he is a prety meen feller if he dont tell him. 
(vociferous applause from the audience, on 
whom this sentiment appears to have made a 
decided hit) . old Francis says it is the wirst 
thing a feller can do, and ennybody whitch will 
do that will come to a bad end, but i wood rath 
er have old Francis think i was a tuff nut than 
to have the fellers think i was meen, (Great 
applause) only i don t like to have him lick time 
out of me for it. (laughter), the other day 
in geografy lesson old Francis asked Beany 
what was the capital of New Jersey and i 
thaught Beany dident know becaus he most al 
ways misses (here Beany volunteered the in 
formation that he guessed he didn t miss any 
more than Plupy but was appeased when Plupy 
apologized by saying that Beany was smart 
enough only he was always raising time) and 
so i whispered Hartford and New Haven and 
Beany he holered Hartford and New Haven 
and old Francis grabed Beany and shook him 
round lively and sent him to the foot of the 
class. Beany was auful mad with me becaus he 





was jest going to answer rite when i told him 
rong, and he woodent speak to me for 2 days, 
(vociferous cheers and cat-calls which suddenly 
stopped when a sharp rapping was heard on 
the floor above where the family were peace 
fully gathered). 

They is other kinds of cheeting two. once me 
and Beany was fiting (deep interest manifested 
on the part of all, and "which licked?" was the 
breathless question from Bug) and all of a sud 
den Beany began to hold on to his stumoch as 
if he was sufering feerful and when a feller is 
fiting and holds on to his stumoch, it aint fair to 
hit enny more than it is to hit him when he is 
down, and so i stoped and leaned over to see if 
he was hurt and Beany he stratened up and hit 
me a feerful paist in the eye and blacked it and 
so i got licked that time. Beany he thought it 
was a prety good trick to play on me and i 
thought so two after i got over my mad and the 
next time i had a fite with Pewt i pretended i 
was auful hurt and held on to my stumoch and 
bent up double and wached my chance to straten 


up like Beany did and black Pewts eye but Pewt 
dident give me enny chance and gumped on me 
when i was all bent double and lammed me. i 
think that was prety meen cheeting for Pewt. 
(Great indignation expressed by all). 

and so fellers as i said before cheeting is 
rong, and we had aught never to cheet if we 
can help it and never to cheet meen ennyway." 

When the applause had subsided the hospit 
able Plupy passed round apples, popcorn and 
sweetened water to which full justice was done 
and the date of the next lecture was set for the 
Wednesday following, and as the nine o clock 
bell rang from the tower of the old white 
church, the boys departed after exacting a 
promise from Plupy to be sure and not forget 
the refreshments. 



A regular Donnybrook fair of a debate. 

PRIOR to the next regular meeting of 
the club, some slight jealousy had 
arisen in the youthful bosoms of the 
audience over the undue prominence 
that Plupy had occupied as sole ora 
tor on this never-to-be-forgotten evening. 

The ease with which he had delivered his es 
say or lecture, and the astonishing excellence of 
the material, had implanted in the breasts of 
the other boys an ambitious desire to shine 
even as Plupy had shone. 

Accordingly, a special meeting of the club 
had been called at Whack s house, and that gen 
tleman voiced the unanimous sentiment that 
"Some of the other fellers had ought to have a 
little show." 

Strange to say, Plupy objected to this and 
somewhat peevishly inquired: "What s eatin 


you fellers anyway?" 

To this Bug replied scornfully: "You needn t 
think you are the whole show," and further in 
timated that it made him "sick to see a feller 
which wanted to be always yappin." 

As this view of the case seemed to be rather 
unanimous Plupy was somewhat nonplussed, 
and again desired information as to what was 
"eatin them." 

, In reply, Fatty informed him that he pro 
posed to deliver a little essay of his own "com 
posure," as did Whack and Bug, Puzzy, Doc, 
Tomtit and Beany, whereupon Plupy in huge 
disgust informed them that he "guessed he 
wasn t a goin to furnish grub for the whole 
crowd for so many nights," and further sug 
gested that someone else had "gotter trot out 
the grub and hall." 

This was somewhat of a poser for the rest, 
for no other boy could boast a basement kitchen 
so conveniently removed from the rest of the 
house as to allow them to do about as they 
wished without seriously annoying their elders. 


So the other boys shifted their ground a bit, 
and resorted to persuasion and flattery. 

"Aw now, Plupy, what s the use of bein mean 
about it?" queried Bug. 

"That s so, Plupy," chimed in Doc, "we fel 
lers know you can do it better n us fellers, but 
that ain t no reason why we hadn t ought to 
have any chance." 

"Aw, come on Plupy," said Fatty, persuasive 
ly, "it aint like you to be mean." 

"You bet it aint, Fatty," said Tomtit, nod 
ding his head assertively, "Plupy is the gener- 
ousest feller out if you don t try to drive him." 

"That s so," added Puzzy with fine diplo 
macy, "Plupy s a bad one to drive, and he has 
got plenty of spunk, but nobody ever knew 
Plupy to be mean. Only las night Fatty said a 
feller could have more fun at Plupy s than any 
where else." 

Now Plupy was so unused to praise that these 
fulsome compliments quite smoothed down his 
ruffled plumage and he so far unbent as to say: 

"Of course, fellers, I don t want to be mean 



about it, and if you fellers want to get off any 
blob, why I ain t stoppin you," whereupon he 
was at once voted a brick, and a discussion be 
gan over a question of precedence. 

And here again trouble arose. Fatty claimed 
precedence as the biggest, the oldest, and the 
best fighter. 

Bug admitted Fatty s right to the first and 
second qualifications but scoffed vigorously at 
the third. Whack claimed that he was in the 
first class in the grammar school, and conse 
quently was entitled to first place, but Puzzy 
said that Whack was most always at the foot of 
his class, and he guessed Whack couldn t brag 
much anyway. 

Tomtit, the swiftest runner, moved that the 
question be settled by a foot-race, which motion 
was voted down vivissima voce. 

Fatty advocated an adjudication by wager of 
battle, a motion rejected by a majority vote. 
Bug dissenting vigorously. 

Bug suggested "plugging rocks at a mark," in 
which he had really superlative skill, but this 


proposition shared the fate of the others. 

Doc proposed putting it to a vote, which was 
promptly done, but as each boy voted for him 
self, no satisfactory conclusion was reached. 

Finally, as no amicable solution appeared 
possible, Beany proposed a joint debate in 
which everyone could take part. As this sugges 
tion appealed to the combative disposition of 
every boy there, it was hailed with acclaim, and 
a choice of subjects was proposed to be at once 
made in writing. 

Plupy suggested "whitch can lick Scotty Brig- 
ham or Stubby Gooch?" 

Whack: "Whitch can kick a football the hy- 
est, Chitter Robinson or Kibo Marston?" 

Beany: "Which can trot the fastest, Charles 
Toles Nelly or Levi Toles Johnny Roach?" 

Fatty: "Which can squert the furtherest the 
fountain or the torent?" 

Plupy created some surprise by further sug 
gesting: "Whitch settled Exeter ferst, John 
Whealrite or John Quinzy Ann Pollard?" 

Whereupon W T hack, not to be outdone in a 


reputation for historical research, proposed: 
"Whitch was rite, the Ferst or the Secont Con- 
grigationeral Chirch?" 

Now, as might have been expected, each boy 
obstinately stood for his own subject and flatly 
declined to consider any other. And so, after 
what bid fair to be an interminable and vituper 
ative wrangle between the boys, Doc suggested 
an entirely different one, which had for years 
challenged the brightest minds of the rural de 
bating clubs : 

"Whitch is the mitier, the pen or the sword?" 

After some grumbling, this was assented to, 
and Fatty, as permanent chairman, selected the 
following disputants and officers. 

For the sword, Doc, Bug, Plupy. For the 
pen, Whack, Beany, Puzzy. Chairman, Fatty. 
Referee, Tomtit. 

On the evening of the debate it was evident 
that a battle royal was to be waged. 

Each boy bore himself with a sort of chip-on- 
the-shoulder air, and was apparently loaded to 
the muzzle with technical information calcu- 


lated to blow the opposition into infinitesimal 
smithereens. Likewise, the gorgeousness of 
their neckties, and the brilliancy of their boots 
astounded the beholder not a little. 

At 7 P. M. Fatty ponderously made the fol 
lowing announcement. "Fellers, the subject this 
evenin is a debate, which is the mightiest the 
pen or the sword? Now I have wrote some 
rules so you fellers won t get fighting and every 
thing will be fair." 

"Rule i. No calling of each other liers. 

"Rule 2. No plugging of spit balls aloud. 

"Rule 3. No 2 fellers can debait to onct. 

"Rule 4. Every feller has got to stop talking 
when the chairman tells him to, and keep still 

"Rule 5. I am the chairman. 

"The first feller which is in favor of the 
sword will now speak. Time!" 

At the call of time Billy Swett stepped forth 
bowed, grinned, and began a masterly argu 

"Fellers, the sword is mightier than the pen. 


Why? because it is longer, and bigger round, 
and has a handle to grab it with. Course it is 
mightier. I should think any feller would know 
that. When brave Horatias held the bridge, 
what did he do it with a pen? Well, I guess 
not bad. How long could he have stood against 
the three fellers that come at him ? What did he 
hit the great lord of Luna with? Did he jab 
him with a pen? No, you bet he didn t, he 
pasted him a good one with his sword, and he 
had to pull three times before he could get it 
out. He had to put his foot on his gozzle and 
pull like time. 

"Sposen he had jabbed him with a pen, I guess 
it would have come out easy. And where would 
he have been? 

"Then, again, a sword is made of steel and 
until a little while ago pens were made of goose 
feathers. Did any of you fellers ever see a 
sword made of a goose feather, or a hen feath 
er, or a turkey feather or any sort of a feather? 
Huh, I guess not!" 

Vigorous applause from the adherents of the 


sword greeted him, mingled with groans and 
hisses from the pen sympathizers, and Doc took 
his seat, mopping his brow. 

No sooner was quiet restored than Whack 
rose with dignity, while Bug bobbed up as buoy 
antly as a cock. 

"Fellers," he yelled, "Doc is all right, and if 
anyone has got anything to say let him step 
right down here and back it up." 

Bang! Bang! Bang! from the gavel. "Shet 
up Bug, taint your turn." 

"Tis too," insisted Bug. 

"Taint neither." 

" Tis." 

" Taint." 

" Tis." 

"You lie." 

"You lie back." 

"Mr. Chairman, I rise to a point of order," 
said Whack with dignity. 

"Yah, old Whack, who said you didn t?" 
scoffed Bug, "Point of order, Huh." 

"I guess I can keep order here without any of 


your help, Whack," roared Fatty, purple with 
indignation at what he considered a high-handed 
attempt to usurp his prerogative as chairman. 
"If you ve got anything to say, say it, and then 
shet up!" 

"Fellers," said Whack, calmly ignoring Fat 
ty s rudeness, as Bug subsided, shaking his head 
defiantly, "Doc don t know what he s talking 
about. It aint which is made of the strongest 
metal, but which you can do the most with. 
When the pilgrin fathers signed the declaration 
of independence they made the Fourth of July, 
and they didn t sign it with a sword, did they? 
No, you bet they didn t they signed it with a 
pen. And if it hadn t been for a pen in the 
hands of them same pilgrin fathers, you 
wouldn t have any Fourth of July, ner any fire 
crackers, ner torpedoes, ner rockets, ner red 
lights, ner nothin. 

(Terrific applause from the men of the pen, 
and amazed silence on the other side of the 

"Then again," resumed Whacker, "when 





Abraham Lincoln signed the emancipation proc 
lamation, he freed the nigger slaves, millions of 
them, and they keep the pen he signed it with 
in Washington. And where would them nig 
gers been if he had tried to sign it with a 
sword? Where would they been, I say?" 

And Whacker retired triumphantly, conscious 
of having scored heavily. 

But Bug was equal to the emergency, and 
burst into his argument with explosive force. 

"Fellers, Whack says the Pilgrin Fathers 
signed the Declaration of Independence. Who 
said they didn t? What if they did? They had 
to fight for it afterwards, didn t they? Sposen 
they hadn t done nothing while the revolution 
was goin on but keep signing declarations of 
independence, while old Cornwallis and Beni- 
dick Arnold, and King George and Mark An 
thony and those fellers had been whacking their 
heads off with swords, where would Cotton 
Mather and Giles Corey and Captain John 
Smith and George Washington been then, say 



(Tremendous applause by Bug s adherents). 

"An 5 it was jest so when Lincoln signed the 
emancipation proclamation. Did that free the 
niggers? What was General Grant, and Sher 
man, and Sheridan, and General Marston and 
Beany s father and Kibo Marston doing then? 
Was they signing proclamations? Well, I guess 
not much ! They was pasting round lively with 
their swords. Where would Hiram Mingo, 
and Gran Miller and old man Cuttler and Nig 
ger Tash been if it wasn t for them? They 
would be picking cotton or shinnin up trees to 
get out of the reach of blood hounds, n Whack 
knows it, if he knows anything." 

The applause that greeted this brilliant argu 
ment showed only too plainly that the carefully 
gathered historical data of the scholarly Whack 
were discredited by even his own adherents. 

But he had a worthy champion, for scarcely 
had Bug concluded, when Beany popped up, 

"Fellers, what Whack said about the pen 
was right. I don t care what Bug says. You 


know old Seth Tanner. Well, old Seth he had a 
pig pen down on South street, and it smelt so 
bad that it stunk everybody out of the neigh 
borhood. Most everybody had to move away, 
and those that didn t, got typhoid fever and 
died. Well, one day old Seth got drunk and got 
an old army sword and started to clean out the 
town, and old Kimball Thurston, Medo s fath 
er, grabbed him and slapped his mouth, and 
took away his sword and ducked him in the 
horse trough until he promised to keep quiet. 
Now what did the sword amount to? Nothin . 
What did the pig pen amount to? It killed 
everyone in the neighborhood and drove out all 
the rest. Which was the mightiest there? 
Whatcher got to say about it now?" 

Instantly Doc, Bug and Plupy were on their 
feet protesting, and shouts of "Mr. Chairman 
point of order we aint shet up, Plupy has 
the floor. Aw now, fellers bang! bang! bang! 
somebody 11 get punched, smy turn, aint talk 
ing about pig pens, cheat! cheat! we are too 
bang! bang! bang! shet up, I tell you, Plupy 



got up first, listen to Plupy, bang ! bang ! bang ! 

After awhile the chairman restored order, 
and the justly indignant Plupy shouted, u Taint 
fair, Beany, we aint debatin about pig pens, 
ner calf pens, ner hen pens, but pens you write 
with, and " 

Here Puzzy jumped to his feet and objected, 
claiming that Plupy ought to address the chair 
man and not argue with a fellow-member, but 
was in turn interrupted by Whack, who again 
arose to a point of order, to Fatty s almost 
speechless indignation. 

"I tell ye I can keep order without Mr. 
Chairman, I move aw now shet up, Whack 
and Plupy don t know nothin I have the 
bang ! bang ! liar and you know put it to vote 
order cheat cheaj: shct up order !" 

Finally Fatty succeeded in putting Plupy s 
motion and called for the yeas and nays. 

"Ain t yer goin to low us to argue on the 

motion?" shouted Bug. But Fatty ruled with 

adamantine firmness against further argument, 

and again called for the yeas and nays, where- 



upon Whack, Beany and Puzzy loudly voted 
"Aye!" and Doc, Bug and Plupy fairly 
screeched "No!" upon which a tie vote was 
declared and Bedlam again broke loose. 

"Vote again doubted Fatty can t count- 
leave it to fraud who s a liar? You aint 
man enough Yah, Yah, don t dass to shet 
up won t seddown can t make me bang! 
bang! bang! 

After a few minutes turmoil the chairman se 
cured a temporary lull, and referred the mat 
ter to Tomtit as Referee, who, although utter 
ly in the dark as to the strict meaning of the 
motion, promptly decided against the admission 
of the pig pen as an element of might, to the 
great delight of the sword-bearers. 

The debaters were called upon to proceed, 
and Plupy arose and zealously sailed in. 

"Fellers, what was old Kempenfelt doin 
when the Royal George was tipped over and 
sunk? Was he a tendin to business as he had 
ought to have been? No, he wasn t, and you 
fellers all know it, because you have all read it 



in the school reader and most of you have spoke 

His sword was in its sheath, 
His fingers held the pen 
When Kempenfelt went down 
With twice four hundred men. 

If old Kempenfelt had been tendin to busi 
ness, and had been up on deck with his sword in 
his hand ready to lam time out of any sailor 
which wasn t doin his duty, he might have been 
sailin round now. Instead of that he was down 
in the cabin foolin round with a pen, writin to 
his girl perhaps, and his old ship went down 
just because he wasn t lookin out for things as 
he ought to have been." And Plupy sat down 
conscious of having made a decided hit. He was 
followed by Puzzy, who exchanged a few light 
aspersions with his brother, Bug, and was repri 
manded by the chairman, which disturbed him 
so little that he merely made a hideous face at 
that functionary before beginning the closing 


argument of the day. 

"Fellers and Mister Chairman. I have lis 
tened to Bug s argument with surprise, because 
I thought Bug knew something. It was the 
foolishest argument I ever heard in my life 
(here Bug arose glowering balefully) except 
Plupy s. (Here Plupy turned scarlet and 
squirmed in his seat). Where would your 
books and your newspapers and your schools be 
if it wasn t for the pen? (Yah, books aint writ- 
in with a pen," scornfully shouted Bug, "they 
are printed.") (What about a pencil too," 
sneered Plupy) . That shows that neither Bug 
nor Plupy knows anything more about it than 
Doc, who don t know anything at all about it. 
("I aint goin to take such sass as that from any 
body," said the ordinarily quiet Billy Swett, 
arising and peeling his jacket and spitting on 
his hands, in preparation for laying violent 
hands on Puzzy) . 

"Nor me neither," declared Bug, "casting his 
hat into the ring and essaying to follow it." 

"I m in this too," declared Whack, a warlike 


gleam in his eye. 

Bang! bang! bang! went the gavel, but again 
discordant voices arose. 

"Take it back I won t taint fair shet up 
Rule i who cares for your old rules he d 
no business to no interruption aint goin to 
take no sass bang ! bang ! Aw, come on fellers 
Plupy s father ll be down oh shet up come 
out doors don t dass to ." 

"Finally, warlike demonstrations were 
quelled, but Puzzy refused to go on unless he 
could say first what he wished, and the Referee 
was placed in the embarrassing position of ren 
dering a decision that was bound to be equally 
unpopular, whichever way the decision went. 
However, deeming promptness a virtue, he at 
once decided in favor of the sword, whereupon 
raucous contumely was showered upon him by 
Whack, Beany and Puzzy. 

"Yah, you always decide in favor of Billy 
Swett because he has got a horse and a gun," 
sneered Puzzy. 

"You just wait till you come up to my house 

"Help yourself, fellers," 
said Plupy 


again, see if you get any apples," said Whack. 

u You wouldn t have dassed to decide against 
us if Dennis Cokely was on our side," affirmed 
Beany, referring to a recent fight in which Tom 
tit was reported to have been worsted. 

"That s mean," said Doc. 

"He can lick you, Beany, and you too Puz," 
declared Bug with emphasis. 

"Help yourselfs fellers," said Plupy, bring 
ing forth a pitcher of sweetened water and a 
huge tray piled with apples and doughnuts. 

And white-winged peace descending, brooded 
over the battlefield. 



"Please, ma am kin I have suthin for Thanksgivin ?" 


approach of Thanksgiving, 
opened up a dazzling prospect of 
mince, apple, squash and pumpkin 
pie, chicken, turkey, roast pig, 
roast goose, nuts, raisins ad libi 
tum, to our friends Pewt, Beany, Plupy, Fatty, 
Bug, Whack, Puzzy and others, who had on 
ordinary occasions displayed appetites of most 
unusual and extraordinary proportions. 

The expectations of these lively youths had 
been kept at fever heat by the daily home prep 
arations for the coming event, and the woefully 
infrequent opportunities afforded them of 
snatching vi et armis small portions of the raw 
materials, such as nuts, raisins, brown sugar, 
dried currants, preserved ginger and mince 
meat, and escaping through holes in the back 
fences to avoid maternal reprisals. 


As each boy was in honor bound to equitably 
divide such plunder among his friends on penal 
ty of being called a pig or a "meany," the fre 
quent interchange of commodities led to specu 
lations over the possibility of anticipating the 
event by a little dinner of their own. 

It was a custom in those days which I am 
glad to say is practically obsolete to-day, at 
least in Exeter, for the children of the lower 
classes to spend the early hours of the night be 
fore Thanksgiving in going about the town beg 
ging for Thanksgiving supplies. The house 
wife of the well-to-do class would be called to 
the door and would find there a boy or girl who 
would greet her with the time honored request, 
"please gimme suthin for ThanksgivinV Some 
times a few kindly questions would elicit suffi 
cient information to convince the good woman 
that it would be a real charity to cast a little 
bread on the waters, and the ordinary result 
was that the small beggar went away well laden 
with goodies. Again a severe cross-examina 
tion would frequently end in the headlong flight 


of the mendicant and his shrill yells of derision 
when at a safe distance. 

This custom was regarded rather tolerantly 
by the good people of Exeter, and was not look 
ed upon strictly as begging by those who regu 
larly indulged in it, but rather as a fascinating 
game of chance. Indeed it was by no means an 
uncommon thing for children of the better 
classes to yield to its fascinations and, evading 
the vigilance of their maternal guardians, to so 
licit alms with a persistence that in any good 
cause would have been most praiseworthy, and 
a fertility of prevarication that was appalling. 

With these shining examples in mind it was 
not surprising that our young friends became in 
terested in any project affording the alluring al 
ternative of excitement and probable gain. And 
so one rainy Saturday afternoon when they 
gathered in Fatty s barn and had exhausted the 
possibilities of "rassling," "knocking off hats," 
"punching," and that most delightful pastime 
known as "pilin on," in which when one of two 
wrestlers was squarely thrown and was recum- 


bent under the body of the victor, any boy pres 
ent could by throwing himself on the bodies of 
the fallen and yelling, "pile on, pile on," at once 
produce a confused mound of squirming, shout 
ing, struggling boys, whose combined weight 
crushed the unfortunate victim almost flat, that 
the conversation turned to the delightful sub 
ject of Thanksgiving dainties. 

"We are goin to have a sixteen pound turkey 
at our house," quoth Bug boastingly. "Huh, 
that aint nuthin ," chimed in Pewt disdainfully. 
"We are goin to have Dal Gilmore s big goose 
and he weighs most twenty-five pounds, and 
Ivan and his wife is coming home." 

"Yah, goose for Thanksgiving," snorted 
Whack, resenting the implied superiority of 
Pewt s household preparations. "Goose is for 
Crismas, anybody had ought to know that." 

" Taint neither," insisted Pewt. "Goose is 
better and costs more than turkey." 

"Dal Gilmore s old goose is more than thirty 
years old and tuffer n tripe," scoffed Plupy, not 
to be behind in the discussion. 


"That shows how much you know about it, 
old Plupy," sneered Pewt. "A goose gits ten 
derer and tenderer the longer it lives, jest like a 
rotten apple." 

"Well," concluded Fatty ponderously. "You 
can have your goose if you want him but I d 
ruther have turkey and stufflnV 

"M-m-m," said Beany, drawing in his breath 
succulently, "jest think of the stuffin and 

"And the drumsticks," added Puzzy, rolling 
his eyes heavenward. "And the wishbone and 
a big piece of the breast," gurgled Billy Swett. 

"And the gizzard and the part that goes over 
the fence last," shrieked Beany, with height 
ened emphasis. 

"How many kinds of pie do you have, Fat 
ty?" queried Plupy of that plump youth, who 
was regarded as a bon vivant of taste and ex 

"Five," replied Fatty meditatively, and then 
enumerating with keen enjoyment, "mince, ap 
ple, pumpkin, squash and cranberry." "And 


pudding too," he continued reminiscently, "and 
nuts and raisins and figs," he concluded. 

"Gosh," exclaimed his attentive listeners with 
one accord. 

"Don t it jest make you hungry to think of 
it, fellers?" said Puzzy, heaving a sigh. 

"You bet it does," they responded with fer 

"Do you know what Fatty Melcher did last 
year?" continued Beany. "He and Pewt went 
begging and they dressed up in old clothes and 
they got a lot of cookies and a whole mince pie 
and a half of a squash pie and a big turnover 
and they went down back of Fatty s father s 
shop and et it all." 

"Gosh," again exclaimed the boys as the 
same idea struck them simultaneously, "less we 
fellers go." 

"What if they ketch us?" demanded Plupy 

" Twont do any hurt," said Bug, "everybody 
expects somebody round begging night before 
Thanksgiving, and they don t care much who it 



"My father would lam the stuffing out of 
us fellers if he should find it out," said Whack. 

"Fatty can t," said Beany, "because every 
body would know him." 

"I won t do it," said Billy Swett with deci 

"Then twill have to be Pewt or Beany or 

"I won t unless Pewt does too," announced 
Beany decidedly. 

"I ll tell you what," said Fatty. "Pewt and 
Beany and Plupy can go Wednesday night. 
Thanksgiving comes Thursday and we will meet 
here Wednesday night and eat what they get." 

"Aw now," scoffed Beany. "I guess you fel 
lers think you are pretty smart to get us to take 
the risk and do the work and then help us eat it 
up. I guess not much, Fatty." 

"Oh, come now," said Whack. "What is the 

use of your being so mean about it? They will 

know Fatty every time, he is so fat, and they 

will know he don t need nothin . If my father 





hadn t said he would lick us if he ever heard of 
our going out begging we would do it. Your 
father hasn t never said he would lick you for it 
Plupy, has he? Or yours neither Pewt, or yours, 

The boys addressed admitted that no such 
injunction had been laid on them, but sagely 
opined that paternal relations might be a trifle 
strained in the event of their detection, where 
upon the other boys loudly reassured them. 

"Course your father wouldn t be mean 
enough to lick you when they hadn t never told 
you not to do it," asserted Pile Wood. "I tell 
you, Whack," said Fatty, in audible tones aside 
to that gentleman. "It takes a pile of pluck to 
do it. Plupy and Beany and Pewt is jest the fel 
lers to do it." 

"Aw come on now, Plupy," said Bug, u jest 
think what fun it will be. You can lie so good 
too," he continued. 

u Huh," said Plupy, plainly pleased at the 
flattering words. "I can t lie so good as Pewt. 
He can lie jest bully, and Beany can too." 




And so after much urging and specious flat 
tery, the three worthies, Plupy, Beany and Pewt 
were persuaded to undertake the task, upon the 
other boys promise to go with them and hang 
round in the neighborhood of the houses they 
were to favor with their patronage. This lat 
ter arrangement was a suggestion of Fatty s, 
who evidently distrusted the generosity of the 
three in an impartial division of the spoil. 

The agreement so pleased that luxurious 
youth that in order to show his appreciation of 
their noble conduct, he tip-toed into the kitchen 
and in the absence of the cook successfully raid 
ed the pantry and brought away a squash pie 
and about a peck of doughnuts stuffed into his 
pockets, which he distributed with the utmost 

The next Wednesday evening just after sup 
per the boys met as per agreement at Fatty s 
barn and arranged for a plan of the campaign. 
It was deemed advisable that the initial demand 
should be made at the house of one William 
Morrill, a most worthy and kindhearted citizen, 


whose only failing was a belief that every man, 
and in fact every boy, was as honest as he. 

Straws were drawn for first chance, and 
Plupy, always unlucky in games of chance, drew 
the shortest straw, and in high spirits the boys 
shinned over the fence and out through Elm to 
Court street, where the old gentleman lived with 
his sister, old Mother Moulton, the best na- 
tured, talkative old soul in the town. 

Plupy, urged on by his friends, approached 
the door with much diffidence, and in answer to 
his timid knock the door opened and disclosed 
the ample figure and wrinkled face of the old 
lady, peering at him through her iron rimmed 

"Please gimme suthin fer Thanksgiving?" 
stammered Plupy, pulling his hat down over 
his eyes, while a row of heads peered over the 
board fence of the school house yard, awaiting 
with much anxiety the result of negotiations. 

"Why, bless your soul, you poor little boy. 
Come in, come right in," said the kind old lady, 
vigorously hooking the dismayed Plupy, who 


tried to escape, into the room. 

"Now, my poor boy, tell me all about it," she 
continued, "and take off your hat, it isn t polite 
to keep your hat on in the house, didn t you 
know that?" 

Thus urged, the desperate Plupy shamefaced 
ly removed his hat, and as he was perfectly 
well known to the old lady, she instantly recog 
nized him. 

"Sakes alive, Harry Shute, if it ain t you. 
What in the world are you up to such doin s as 
this for?" she demanded sternly. 

Now if Plupy had told her frankly she would 
have laughed and let him go, but abashed at his 
position and somewhat terrified at her sternness, 
he unfortunately tried to lie out of it. 

"We aint goin to have any Thanksgiving 
at our house," he said sadly. "We aint goin to 
have no turkey, nor mince pie, nor nothin ." 

"For massy sakes, child, what is the matter? 
Is anyone sick," snapped the old lady, on fire 
with philanthropic zeal. 

"No marm," said Plupy, with a sigh, "no- 

"Sakes alive, Harry Shute, 
if it aint you" said old 
Mother Moulton 


body is sick, but father has lost his place in the 
Custom House, and we can t afford any turkey." 

"What, George Shute lost his place, and with 
a wife and seven children to support! I don t 
wonder you feel pretty bad about it. Does your 
mother know you are begging?" 

u No marm, she wouldn t like it, but I thought 
if I could get a nice chicken or a nice mince pie, 
I could leave it in the pantry, and perhaps she 
might think she had made it." 

"Well, Harry Shute, I allus did think you 
was a no-account sort of boy, but you have got 
a kind heart, a kind heart," quavered the old 
lady, wiping her eyes on the corner of her 
apron. "I m going right straight down to your 
house and see your poor dear mother," she 
continued, greatly to Plupy s discomfiture, who 
knew that interesting developments would re 
sult from her visit. 

"I don t believe mother could see you to-night 
for she went to bed with a awful headache," 
said Plupy, lying desperately and shamelessly. 

"Well, well, well," said the old lady, "they 


are going to have an awful hard time now. 
Hum, hum," she continued as she packed two 
mince pies neatly in paper, and filled a paper 
bag with cookies, and urged them upon the 
shrinking Plupy, as with many kind words of 
encouragement she led him out and closed the 
door behind him, and returning for her shawl 
and bonnet, made a hurried round of visits 
through the neighborhood, freely imparting the 
information that George Shute had lost his 
place in the Boston Custom House, and what 
he would do to support a wife and seven chil 
dren she for her part couldn t imagine, and 
what was going to become of them all she didn t 
for the life o her know. 

Upon his return to the boys, Plupy was great^ 
ly troubled over the magnitude of his lies, but 
the reassuring flattery of the boys and the appe 
tizing smell of the provender soon put him at 
his ease. 

Pewt having drawn the middle straw next 
applied at the house of George Smith on Elliott 
street. Unfortunately Pewt was of so ambi- 


tious a nature as to desire above all things to tell 
a bigger story than Plupy had, and as he was 
not recognized by Mrs. Smith he began to pour 
out a pitiful story of how his father and two 
sisters were down with the small pox, and was 
elaborating further and harrowing particulars, 
when he was told to leave or she would have 
him arrested, the door was slammed in his face 
with great violence, and a few minutes later a 
wild-eyed woman with a shawl over her head 
was acquainting the neighborhood that small 
pox of the most virulent type had broken out in 
town and they were all likely to take it before 
the week was over, and that everybody must 
take belladonna and fumigate their houses at 
once, and what would happen next she for her 
part didn t know. 

The boys were somewhat depressed at the 
barren results of Pewt s first trial, but at the 
next place, Mr. John Kelley s, having concocted 
an equally pitiful but less dangerous recital of 
a poor father dying with consumption, he so 
excited the kind hearted hostess that he came 


away with a whole roast chicken and an apple 

It was now Beany s turn and at the first place 
he applied he invented a wholly original story. 
As he was not recognized, he took the oppor 
tunity of representing himself as the son of a 
beloved pastor of the Second Congregational 
Church, and to disarm suspicion, further in 
formed her with engaging frankness that his 
father had not been paid any salary since May, 
and that they couldn t have any Thanksgiving. 

Now as this good woman was an ardent sup 
porter of the First Church of the same denomi 
nation, and inasmuch as veiled but bitter rivalry 
had for years existed between the two churches, 
she lost no time after she had dismissed "the 
pastor s little son" laden with good things, in 
putting on her shawl and acquainting the promi 
nent members of the church that the pastor of 
the Second Church was actually in need of the 
necessities of life, that his salary hadn t been 
paid for a year, and that for her part she should 
think that people who held their heads so high 


as the Second Church people had better pay 
their minister That she always thought they 
were upstarts and that now she knew it. 

Now while the boys, affluent in dainties, were 
hugely enjoying their feast in the rear of Fatty s 
barn, the most sinister rumors were flying 
through the little town, to the effect that George 
Shute had lost his place in the Boston Custom 
House under very suspicious circumstances, that 
several cases of small pox had been discovered 
and that one or two deaths had already oc 
curred; and of the extremely humiliating posi 
tion in which the pastor of the Second Church 
was placed by the inability of the parish to meet 
the demands upon it. 

Three such disquieting rumors were sufficient 
to stir the whole community to a boiling heat, 
and great was the amazement of Plupy s father 
the next day at receiving many visits of con 
dolence from his friends, all of whom had al 
ready sent in written applications for the sup 
posedly vacant office. 

And great was the annoyance of the pastor of 



the Second Church, a most independent and 
high minded gentleman, at receiving many do 
nations and offers of financial aid from members 
of the alien congregation. 

But the feelings of the harassed and much 
abused selectmen after spending the early hours 
of the forenoon in trying vainly to locate the 
infected district, and to suitably fumigate and 
e"ffectually quarantine the same, were beyond 
language vitriolic enough for adequate expres 

Indeed for a long time the source of the in 
formation was unknown, but the promised visit 
of good Mother Moulton gave the first clue to 
the elder Shute, who promptly acting on this 
clue elicited from the terrified Plupy sufficient 
information to implicate Pewt and Beany and 
they with their respective fathers were promptly 
summoned to a conference, at which the full na 
ture of their atrocious doings was divulged. 

It is doubtful if those three miscreants ever 
spent a more unhappy day. That they lost their 
Thanksgiving dinner, which they had for weeks 


looked forward to was bad enough, but to be 
obliged to spend the greater part of that day 
accompanied by irate parents, in making reiter 
ated apologies and explanations to their victims 
and the friends to whom they had imparted the 
information gained, was bitterness itself, and 
the sound and deserved thrashings they each 
and everyone received formed the culminating 
tragedy of a sorrowful and memorable day. 

And as the three fathers, weary but triumph 
ant, separated after their energetic search for 
the truth, they repeated to each other the fa 
miliar and oft quoted words, "Did you ever see 
such cussed boys?" 



With the view of possible Christmas contingencies the 
boys became deeply and widely religious. 


Christmas holidays were now 
nearly at hand. It had been a 
snowless fall; skating had been 
good, so good indeed that the boys 
had almost tired of it. Indeed the 
hockey games played in the school yard were 
fully as interesting as and much more prolific in 
scrimmages than ice hockey. 

But Christmas was in the near future and 
that particular holiday was the burden of their 
thoughts by day and dreams by night. How to 
make the most of that holiday was the scheme 
to which all the ingenuity of their active minds 

One morning shortly after Thanksgiving, the 
elder Shute, father of our friend Plupy, slowly 
descended the steps of his modest habitation, 



pulling thoughtfully on a cigar, which showed 
an irritating propensity to burn up on one side. 
It was a crisp and quiet Sabbath morning, and 
that gentleman, having seen his numerous fami 
ly troop off to church, wended his way medita 
tively towards one of his favorite Sunday re 
treats, the paint shop of his neighbor, "Brad" 
Purinton, father of a certain co-miscreant of 
Plupy, known as Pewt. 

As he entered that warm and cosy retreat he 
found the worthy Bradbury sitting in a rush- 
bottomed chair and smoking a most virulent 
clay pipe. His coat, laid aside, disclosed the 
sleeves of his snowy Sunday shirt, while his 
feet, ordinarily encased in stout leather boots 
with much wrinkled legs, were now ornate in 
gaudy-colored carpet slippers. Opposite him 
sat the trim looking gentleman who boasted the 
distinguished paternity of the sinful Beany, 
smoking a meerschaum with silver trimmings 
and flecking the dust from polished boots with a 
snowy handkerchief. 

The room contained the assortment of arti- 


cles peculiar to a paint shop. The walls and 
doors, on which painters had tried their 
brushes, were daubed with many colored paints 
and presented the red, orange, yellow, green, 
blue, indigo and violet of the rainbow, while 
colored lithographs of Dolly Bidewell, Morris 
Brothers Minstrels, Comical Brown, and 
Washburn s Grand Sensation, were pasted 
thereon. Scattered around the room were wood 
en buckets of paint and oil, with half submerged 
brushes and stirring sticks projecting from 
them, greasy papers of putty and casks of white 
lead, while across one side of the shop appeared 
a long board supported on barrels, covered with 
rolls of wall paper and broad brushes, under 
which board stood a pail of flour paste. 

By the window stood a carpenter s bench 
with a wooden vise clamped at its side, while in 
a wall-rack were bit and bitstock, spokeshaves, 
chisels, screwdrivers, hand and whipsaws, sand 
paper, calipers and paint brushes, dry and stiff 
with ancient dust and lead. 

Evidences of a flourishing business were in 


sight. On a rack in front of the stove stood a 
long and very brilliant sign of bright blue sand 
ed ground, and golden letters which informed 
the public that "W. I. Goods, and Groceries" 
were to be had at lowest prices. 

In the back of the shop a pair of wheels in 
sober garb of dull blue priming, patiently 
awaited the bright paint, gaudy stripes and daz 
zling gold leaf destined for them. 

In the place of honor on the wall hung a most 
patriotic and soul stirring creation, the chef 
d oeuvre of the artist, in which a most astonish 
ingly pigeon-breasted young lady, clad in little 
but the hectic flush of crimson lake, held aloft 
with powerful and ruddy-tinted hand a glowing 
banner of red, white and blue, with folds admir 
ably even and measured as if by calipers, while 
at her side, with out-stretched wings, a glorious 
and jointless eagle, holding jagged lightning in 
his claws, shrieked aloud, but whether in defi 
ance or horror the artist had neglected to state. 

"Hullo, George," slowly drawled Pewt s 
father, pushing forward an old chair with board 



bottom and wire bound legs, "you look glum, 
what s wrong? Don t your cigar suit you?" 

"Hullo, Brad, Hullo, Wat," replied the fath 
er of Plupy. "Cigar s all right. No worse than 
any of old Si s," he added as he sat down and 
crossed his legs. Tm bothered about my lit 
tle boy," replied Plupy s father thoughtfully. 

"Which one, George?" inquired Beany s 
father with interest, "Frank or the baby?" 

"Frankie," replied Plupy s father. 

"Whacher call it, George, croup, chicken pox, 
measles, scarlet fever or what?" asked Brad, 
opening the stove door and putting in a stick of 

"Got an abscess on his back," replied the eld 
er Shute, "a mighty bad one, too," he added. 

"Whacher do for it?" asked Brad, puffing a 
cloud of smoke. 

"Poultices," replied the elder Shute concisely. 

"Too bad," said Brad. 

"That s so," said Wat. 

For a while they smoked in silence, then 
Plupy s father threw his cigar away, leaned 


back and said, "But what bothers me is what 
my oldest boy is up to now?" 

"What signals is he flying?" asked Wat, 
who had contracted nautical expressions from 
his position in the Portsmouth navy yard. 
"Can t you make em out?" 

"No, I can t, hang me if I can," George re 
plied emphatically. "It aint anything so bad 
that he s doing, only I like to be on my guard, 
for it may be a case that will require a course at 
the reform school to cure." 

"What d ye mean? What does he do?" they 
demanded leaning forward and removing their 
pipes in their absorbing interest. 

"What do you think of his going to three 
Sunday schools at once?" demanded Plupy s 
father, leaning back on the bench and tilting his 
cigar towards the brim of his hat. 

To his surprise, both fathers nodded wisely 
and said in concert, "Just what my boy is do 
ing," and Wat added, "Don t you understand 
it, George, three Christmas trees and three 
presents for good behavior." 


U O course I understand what they are af 
ter well enough," replied Plupy s father, "but 
what I am thinking about is the almighty relapse 
they will have after the thing is over. You 
know just how it is, every time those little dev 
ils are good for a week, they keep us in hot 
water for a month to even up things. Aint that 
so, Wat? Aint that so, Brad?" 

u Um-m-huh," replied Wat, as he puffed com 
fortably at his pipe. 

"P tu," replied Brad, as he made a startling 
accurate shot at the front damper in the stove. 

"And then," continued Plupy s father, "think 
what a combination ! Methodist, Congregation 
al and Unitarian. You might as well put a 
bull-dog, a tom-cat and a parrot in the same 
box and expect them to agree." 

"Um-m-huh," replied Wat, letting the blue 
smoke curl upwards. 

"P tu," remarked Brad, sending a hissing 
shot into the crackling flames. 

"Well," disgustedly continued Plupy s fath 
er, "if that s all you can say about it, there aint 


much use for me to say any more. You remind 
one of a caucus of paralytics," and he rose to 

"Um-m-huh," said Wat, thoughtfully. 

"P tu," replied Brad, meditatively. 

"Beats all," said Beany s father, after a 
pause, u how much trouble the oldest boy of 
Shute s makes in the neighborhood. Before he 
came here to live, my boy was as good a boy as 
I ever saw. But get him with that infernal 
Shute boy, he is most as bad as he is." 

"That s right," said Pewt s father, "never 
had any trouble with Clarence fore that brat of 
Shute s came here. Pears to put the devil into 
all the boys." 

"Takes after his father a good deal," said 
Beany s father. 

"That s so," said Pewt s father. 

"Beats all how much George thinks of that 
little Frankie," said Beany s father. 

"Well you know he thinks more of him since 
he got that bile on his back, because Abscess 
makes the heart grow fonder. 


"Um-m-huh," assented Beany s father 

"P tu," replied Pewt s father, meditatively, 
and they relapsed into silence. 

Now while this brilliant and instructive con 
ference was being held, a few rods away three 
boys with freshly soaped faces and hair plas 
tered over their foreheads, sat in the vestry of 
the Unitarian church, singing vigorously and 
restraining themselves with difficulty from jab 
bing pins into each other, while they cast fre 
quent glances at the old clock which seemed to 
them to tick the seconds with dragging slow 

An hour later the same boys might have been 
seen vigorously tuning their lusty pipes to the 
more fervent hymns of the Methodist Sabbath 
school, while still later in the day their shrill 
and vociferous singing was the wonder and ad 
miration of their associates in the Sunday school 
of the Congregational church. 

The reason for all this, Wat, had sententious- 
ly given. "Three Sunday schools and three 

The same boys, tuning 
their lusty pipes 


presents for good behavior." 

When a short time before Christmas they 
had ascertained that the Methodist church 
would probably hold their Christmas festival 
on Christmas night, the First Congregational 
on the night before, and the Unitarian the night 
after Christmas; they decided at once to be 
come members of the Sunday schools of all 
three organizations. True enough, they al 
ready were more or less discredited members of 
the Unitarian Sunday school, but as they were 
exceedingly liberal in their religious views, they 
thought that great good would come from their 
relations with several churches at once, especial 
ly in the Christmas season. 

As Beany s family were members of the Con 
gregational parish, Beany occupying a position 
as blow-boy of the Unitarian church from finan 
cial and utilitarian reasons solely, it was easy 
to secure admission to the first named Sunday 
school through the kind invitation extended by 
that pious youth. 

Admission to the Methodist school was not 



so easy. Several young Methodists, to whom 
they applied, were proof against their bland 
ishments, but one day, having artfully enticed 
one Diddly Colcord, an enthusiastic Christmas 
Methodist, into Pewt s back yard, they solicited 
his good offices; but fearful of too liberally wat 
ering the stock of Christmas presents by the ad 
mission of new members, he rudely refused, 
whereupon they jointly set upon him and sound 
ly mauled him until he became converted to 
their views, and loudly and wailingly consented. 

And Diddly was as good as his word, and the 
next Sabbath, with a black eye and damaged 
nose he ushered them, somewhat abashed, into 
a class of small, tough looking gamins, evident 
ly new converts. 

That three Sunday schools only were joined 
by the trio was due solely to the fact that the 
hours of service in other schools conflicted with 
these, while these three did not conflict in the 
least with each other. 

The Unitarian held their school directly af 
ter the morning service, and any benefit that 


children might have derived from the instruc 
tion was effectually prevented by the fact that 
before the end of the school service they were 
nearly starved from their unaccustomed fasting, 
the dinner hour in that good old town being at 
sharp noon. 

The Methodist held their Sunday school just 
after the dinner hour, and pupils after the 
hearty Sunday dinner were generally in such a 
condition of turgidity, as to gain little, if any, 
spiritual uplifting from their instruction. 

Again, the First Congregational deferred 
their Sunday school until after the regular after 
noon service, when the pupils who had attended 
the two prior services were in a state of mental 
and physical exhaustion that ill-fitted them for 
their soul s improvement. In the case of our 
three friends, by the time the afternoon services 
began, they were in the most irresponsible con 
dition of semi-idiocy. 

Indeed, after the last service they were ac 
customed to tone up their shatterd nerves by 
snow-balling, wrestling and fighting with their 



school-mates, and secretly doing many other 
things not warranted by their bringing up, and 
which upon ordinary Sundays we trust that even 
they would not have done. 

As Christmas approached their fervor in 
creased, and they even went so far as to study 
with some care their Sunday school lesson, and 
apart from their ludicrous mispronunciation of 
unfamiliar words and four syllabled names, 
they acquitted themselves creditably. While the 
strain on them was great, they consoled them 
selves with the assurance that it would not last 
much longer, and the goal of their ambition 
was already in sight. As it was, the safety 
valve was under very great pressure. 

The Sunday before Christmas, the superin 
tendent of the Unitarian Sunday school made 
the expected announcement that the usual 
Christmas festival and tree exercises would be 
held in the Town Hall on Thursday evening, 
the day after Christmas, at which the three boys 
grinned broadly and winked expansively at each 
other, and when their voices rang out blithely 


in the school songs, they were most favorably 
looked upon by their teachers, who knew some 
particulars of their daily life, as brands plucked 
from the burning. 

To rush gleefully home and gobble their din 
ner and repair expectantly to the Methodist 
Sunday school required but a short time. But 
once there, a most astonishing and unlocked for 
facer awaited them. At the close of the lesson 
the superintendent, a portly and bulging man 
in black and shiny broadcloth, ponderously 
arose and rubbing his hand informed his 
"De-a-a-r-r-r hea-r-r-rer-r-s n that the teachers of 
the school and trustees of the church had de 
cided to use the money ordinarily devoted to the 
Christmas tree festival, for the relief of the 
heathen, and that to reward the "Dear-r-r" pu 
pils who had so generously given up their en 
joyment, a Sunday school concert would be held 
next Sunday evening, at which all pupils were 
expected to commit and recite at least four 
verses of Scripture. At the close of this an 
nouncement, the school was dismissed amid a 



horrified silence, which was broken as the schol 
ars dashed noisily down the stairs, when Plupy, 
Beany and Pewt, each giving the amazed and 
innocent Diddly Colcord a prodigious punch, 
fled for home. 

But despite their discomfiture, they were 
promptly on hand at the late service of the Con 
gregational Sunday school, only to have their 
breath taken away by the harrowing announce 
ment that, owing to the unavoidable absence of 
the good pastor on the evening usually appoint 
ed for the Christmas festival, it would be held 
in the large vestry on the evening after Christ 

The disgust and disappointment of our three 
friends was pitiful. For this they had given the 
best of their young energies, the best of their 
fresh voices, the best of their religious attain 
ments. During the long and dreary hour of 
that session they were dangerously near the 
verge of mutiny, but restrained their feelings 
until after singing that harmonious morceau, 
"We all love one another," they were dis- 


missed, when Beany, conscious from their sul 
len looks that something was in store for him, 
although he was entirely innocent and as much 
chagrined as Pewt and Plupy, prudently took to 
his heels and was pursued to the door of his 
father s house by his disappointed fellow-con 
spirators, burning to wreak upon his plump per 
son, the vengeance their disappointed ambition 

And when on Christmas morning instead of 
the usual knife, or bowgun or book of animals 
or birds, they each received a New Testament 
from their amused and admiring relatives, their 
disgust knew no bounds. 



"Fire! Fire! A house is on fire 

See the firemen run. 

It is a crime to set a 

House on fire." Oldtime Primer. 

IT was March. The snow had gone except 
on the north side of buildings and in 
sheltered spots. The roads leading to 
Exeter were seas of mud by day and 
frozen ruts by night. The sun rose 
brightly every morning, and the air was balmy, 
and everyone said: "What a beautiful spring 
day! It seems as if spring had really come." 

At noon the sky became overcast, a piercing 
northeast wind began to blow directly from the 
land of icebergs, people resumed their heavy 
overcoats, scarfs and earmuffs, and solemnly de 
clared that never was there a colder or more 
backward spring. 

In the stores, hoes, rakes, shovels, spades, 
seed corn and sprouting potatoes were exposed 
for sale; but even with this encouragement the 



snow squalls alternated with weak, watery sun 
shine and cold drenching rains. It was a typical 
New England spring that poets have idealized, 
raved over, painted in a thousand alluring col 
ors, but which is in reality the coldest, dreariest, 
most infernal season of the year, freighted with 
coughs, colds, mumps, measles, sore throats, 
ear-aches, chilblains, consumption, bronchitis, in 
fluenza, chills, fever, wet feet, and countless oth 
er evils. A New England spring I Heaven help 
those who have to endure it. The hottest sum 
mer is none too long to get the chills out of one s 
bones. The coldest, most bracing winter hardly 
serves to tone one s system to bear the dreadful 
weeks of a New England spring. 

It was midnight and the village was asleep. 
Plupy was asleep, dreaming of the coming sum 
mer. It had been a dull week for everyone, 
rainy, snowy, cold. It had seemed to Plupy that 
nothing had ever happened, and he was sure 
that utter dreariness and stagnation had fallen 
over the town. But something was going to 
happen that would bring wild excitement to 


Plupy and to his family. 

It was even now happening, but Plupy and his 
family slept on unconscious. 

In the large building next to Plupy s house, 
occupied as a post office and a dry goods store, 
the cellar was lighted by a dull red glow. It 
grew in intensity, and thin spirals of smoke be 
gan to creep from the cracks and keyholes. The 
light increased, the smoke grew thicker, and a 
dull roar was heard. 

Then the bell of the First church began to 
ring jerkily, excitedly, as if it knew the danger. 
Someone had seen the fire and rung an alarm. 
Instantly the town began to wake up, and weird 
cries were heard, and the clump of heavy boots 
on the run, as their owners hurried to the engine 
houses; then the big bell of the Methodist 
church added its deep tones to the chorus, fol 
lowed by the brazen clang of the Upper church 
bell, and the alarm note of the Episcopal. They 
were all at it now, and everyone was shouting 
fire ! as if nobody else knew it. 

What a noise ! Plupy woke with a start. He 


had been dreaming of fire and seemed to have 
heard the bells in his sleep. He sprang from 
the bed almost before his eyes were opened. 
"Bully!" there was a fire. He could see the 
light. It must be a "ripper" by the noise. He 
tore into his clothes. He got his trousers on 
wrong-side-to. What did it matter ? His boots, 
wet the day before, stuck. He pulled until his 
eyes stuck out, then stamped until the warped 
and twisted boots were on. They hurt him, but 
he did not care, there was a fire, a bully one, and 
pretty near too, for he could see the light. He 
hoped it would be a big one, he hadn t seen a 
big one for some time. 

He could hear his aunt calling excitedly for 
his father to hurry up and see where it was. He 
could hear a bustle in the other rooms. Sud 
denly there was a tremendous pounding on the 
front door, the hoarse voices shouted, "George, 
wake up, you re all afire!" Then the pounding 
was repeated. 

Plupy rushed in tremendous excitement to his 
father s room; his father was loudly calling for 


his trousers. The children began to cry loudly. 
Plupy s mother was a woman of nerve and cool 
ness. She ordered Plupy s father to guard the 
front door until they had the children dressed. 
He rushed down stairs, unlocked the door and 
shouted to the crowd to wait. A violently ex 
cited policeman brandishing a club rushed for 
ward and tried to enter; Plupy s father pushed 
him back; he rushed again and tried to seize 
Plupy s father, he received one straight from 
the shoulder, and went bumping backwards 
down the steps. Plupy s father owed the po 
liceman a grudge. It was the same policeman 
that had put Plupy out of the hall the night he 
was to make a speech. The crowd roared. 

Inside, the dressing went on coolly; the pro 
cession was formed. Aunt Sarah led the 
way with the baby and Frankie, the rest fol 
lowed, holding on to one another. Plupy was 
allowed to stay behind and save things. His 
mother also stayed. She was needed. If it 
had not been for her, there wouldn t have been 
a thing left unsmashed. Plupy s father was 


saving things, too. He saved some paper dolls 
and a china dog. Also a little image of "David 
Praying." He also broke out several windows 
and cast things out of them. So did the crowd, 
when Plupy s father did not see them. They 
were things that would break. Most of them 
did break. 

Plupy s father kept on saving things. He 
saved a large iron kettle nearly full of apple 
sauce. It was good apple-sauce. He carried it 
a long distance and set it down carefully. He 
did not throw it through the window as he did 
the other things. He would have spilled it if 
he had, and then again the kettle might have hit 
someone and hurt him. It did not make so 
much difference with the bureau, or the pitchers, 
or the glass globe or the lamps. 

In the meantime the fire was gaining ground. 
Round the corner from Front street came a long 
line of men on a run, dragging the old hand 
tub "Fountain," they swung round a short turn. 
The engine struck the curbing, tipped and went 
over. The men rushed back, shouting and 



swearing, and the fire roared. From the other 
direction came the "Torrent." They backed 
her to the big cistern, ran out the hose, the men 
manned the brakes, "zoonka-zoonka" went the 
engine, the nozzle men stood ready, there was 
no water. 

"What s the matter?" shouted the nozzle 

The pumpers stopped. They had forgotten 
to let down the suction pipe. A dozen men 
sprang to do it, there was a crash of rotten 
boards and the top of the cistern gave way. 
Four men went through. They rose to the sur 
face gasping, and were dragged out dripping. 
There was great excitement and the fire roared 

The old "Piscataqua" was late. She had 
farther to go and two horses to help. They 
were a great help, they carried the engine at 
great speed. They usually got to a fire first. 
This night they were a new pair of horses. They 
ran with great swiftness, faster even than the 
other horses, but they ran the wrong way and 


the driver could not stop them for a long time. 

When the "Piscataqua" got to the fire the 
"Fountain" had been pried up and had got a 
stream on. So had the "Torrent." The men 
were pumping for their lives. Bucket lines had 
been formed, and the thud and tunk of leather 
buckets on heads made apparently of the same 
material was heard above the roar of the fire. 
So were the indignant remarks of the victims. 

The bells were still ringing. They were de 
termined everyone should know there was a fire. 
Some of the people may not have known it. 
Some of them acted as if they did not. Most of 
them worked hard to put out the fire and save 
things. Plupy s father was very active in sav 
ing things. The last thing he saved was Plupy s 
boat. It was in the cellar. The cellar was rap 
idly filling with water and the boat might have 
got wet. So Plupy s father saved it. It was 
the last thing saved. Everything else had been 
saved and smashed but the tacks in the carpets. 
They had been left in the floor with little 
bunches of carpet under them. 


The piano had also been saved. All but the 
legs. They had been chopped off with axes. Old 
Sam Brown and Jethro Holt had cut them off. 
They knew how to cut down trees. They could 
cut a large tree down in five minutes. They cut 
down the piano in less time than that, much less. 
They were strong men. Plupy s mother cried 
about the piano. She had learned to play on 
it when she was a girl. They could have un 
screwed the legs. She said so. 

By this time the postoffice building had fallen 
down. There was nothing else to burn but the 
stone foundations and they would not burn. 
Lucy Boardman s shed had also burned down. 
They had pulled part of it down with poles and 
hooks. So all the streams were turned on 
Plupy s house, and the axmen chopped great 
holes in the roof to see if there was any fire 
there, and then they stuck in the nozzles and 
filled the house with water. 

Some of the neighbors made hot coffee and 
passed it to the firemen. They also passed 
bkck bottles around, not the neighbors but fire- 


men. Some of them staggered, they were so 
tired, and one or two fell down exhausted. As 
soon as their places were taken by fresh men, 
they would go into the hotel near by to rest. 
They all went into the bar-room, because they 
could rest better there. 

By-and-by they put out the fire, It was nearly 
morning then and quite light. 

Plupy and his father went into the house. It 
was not very badly burned, but the plastering 
had all fallen down and the paper was peeling 
from the walls. The insurance men came and 
talked with Plupy s father. He said the house 
wasn t worth a red cent. They said it was in 
pretty good condition, considering. 

Plupy s mother had gone down to Aunt 
Clark s, where the children were. Plupy got 
permission to go down to Ed Towle s to stay to 
breakfast. Plupy was having a good time, he 
felt rather important because it was his father s 
house that had burned, and he thought Lizzie 
Towle, Ed s sister, would think he was quite a 
fellow. Beany wanted him to come to his house 



and Plupy had promised to make him a visit of 
a week after he had finished his visit at Ed s. 

After breakfast Plupy returned to the house, 
and helped remove such furniture as was not 
entirely ruined, to storage in Beany s barn. Pewt 
helped him and so did Pop and Bill and Bug, 
Whack, Puzzy, Tady, Skinny, Diddly, Pile, 
Skippy and his other friends. 

They were very kind and sympathetic with 
Plupy. It was a dreadful thing to be burned 
out and lose everything. 

Plupy fully appreciated his position and did 
his best to be solemn, melancholy and sad. As 
he contemplated the ruins he passed the back of 
his hand across his eyes and mournfully shook 
his head, and looked heroic and resigned. 

It was really very hard to play the part of a 
crushed martyr, for Plupy was having the best 
time he ever had in his life. He told again and 
again to an ever widening circle of listeners, 
how he had heard the bells and jumped from 
his bed, feeling sure that the time had come to 
play the man; how he had rushed through the 


rooms awakening the family; how he had told 
his sisters not to be scared, that he would look 
out for them ; how he had saved the most valu 
able things, and had lifted weights that in sober 
moments he could not have stirred from the 
floor; how he had directed the firemen just 
where the fire was under the coving and where 
to cut the holes to insert the nozzle; how the 
hose burst right under him, and the flames al 
most cut him off, but he had stayed until every 
one had safely got out. 

We must not criticise Plupy too harshly. He 
was an imaginative youth, and the fact that he 
was temporarily occupying the center of the 
stage had in a measure unsettled his judgment, 
that was all. Pewt openly scoffed at Plupy s 
stories and told him what he had done, and how 
Plupy might have done much better, "if he had 
known anything." But Pewt was so evidently 
jealous and unfair that he was told to u shet up," 
and he went away in huge disgust. 

Plupy s father was conferring with the insur 
ance men. He was much depressed by his se- 



vere losses. They were much greater than the 
insurance men were willing to acknowledge. 
The insurance men were not fair, so Plupy s 
father said. Plupy s father was trying to mag 
nify his loss beyond all sense or reason, so the 
insurance men said. Plupy s father put the case 
to them as fair men, willing to pay what they 
agreed to do under the terms of their policies. 
They put the case to him as an upright man, 
who only wanted what was right and fair, man 
to man. 

The day passed; crowds of people visited the 
ruins. One engine was still in attendance, play 
ing on the post office safe. It was still too hot 
to be opened, and steamed when the water 
struck it. The postmaster had opened a tem 
porary office in the west room, ground floor of 
the hotel. The reporter for the local paper in 
terviewed Plupy s father, and estimated his loss 
at a most appalling figure. He also interviewed 
the insurance men and they were much im 
pressed at his remarks. He told the insurance 
men that he wanted to say in his report for the 


paper that "The adjusters of the - - Insur 
ance Company and of the - - Insurance Com 
pany, two of the soundest, most liberal and at 
the same time conservative companies now do 
ing business in America, settled matters with 
Mr. Shute on a far more liberal basis than the 
strict letter of their policies allowed." That 
"it is such treatment that assures the confidence 
of the public and the success of the companies." 
That "the adjusters, Messrs. Blank and Zero, 
commend their local agents, Messrs. Cypher 
and Nought, to the public and grateful for past 
favors solicit a continuance of the same." 

The reporter for the local paper was a great 
friend of Plupy s father, and had conferred 
earnestly with him before the insurance men 
had arrived. He assured the insurance men that 
his report would be published in the Boston pa 
pers. The insurance men conferred again with 
Plupy s father. The matter was compromised. 
Certain papers were filled out and signed by the 
insurance men and by Plupy s father. 

Plupy s father returned to his family. He 



was met on the way by sympathetic friends, who 
told him how sorry they were to learn of his 
great loss. He thanked them, sighed deeply, 
and said the insurance companies had been very 
square and liberal with him, but that there was 
a sentimental value attached to household goods 
that no money could fully compensate. 

But there was a satisfied look in his eyes, his 
step was elastic and he gave Plupy a ten cent 
scrip, which was a sure sign that his mind was 
at peace. 

That night and for a week after, Plupy 
stayed at the American House, kept by Ed 
Towle s father. There was a large stable at 
tached to the house. There was a billiard hall 
in front of the stable. Plupy had promised his 
mother not to go into the billiard hall. But 
there was a great deal to see besides that. It 
was almost as lively a place as Major Blake s. 

After his visit to Ed s was over, he went to 

Beany s for a week. A week of constant fun 

and skirmish. From the moment they woke in 

the morning they had a pillow fight, which 



raged furiously until breakfast time. After 
breakfast they wrestled and skirmished until 
fairly driven from the house to school. They 
chopped kindlings with delight and in friendly 
rivalry. They drew water from the well with 
the old fashioned chain and windlass, and 
slopped it over each other. 

Plupy s father hired another house until his 
house was repaired and Plupy had to help move. 
It was vacation again for two weeks. Beany 
helped him and they would load up a dingle 
cart with furniture and drive Nellie up to the 
new house, which was on Lincoln street, nearly 
a mile from where he had always lived. Then 
they would return for another load and would 
always race with everyone on the road. This 
saved time and made fun for them. It was not 
so much fun for the other people because Nellie 
was a fast trotter, the old dingle cart rattled 
tremendously, and the boys yelled as loud as 
they could. People were not pleased, but they 
could not catch the boys. 

By-and-by all the furniture was moved, and 


the family went into the new house. The people 
in the neighborhood, where Plupy had always 
lived, were very sorry to lose the Shutes. Some 
of them cried. They did not feel badly to lose 
Plupy. Some of them said so. Pewt s father 
said so, and so did Beany s. They thought a 
great deal of Pewt and Beany. It was fortu 
nate for Pewt and Beany that Plupy moved. 
Perhaps it was for Plupy. What do you think? 




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